Burnham-On-Sea pensioners are being encouraged to consider donating some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help local people who are unable to afford to heat their homes.
Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has launched its annual Surviving Winter campaign, which encourages people who can afford it to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment.
Based on the most recent available data, SCF estimates that around 6,500 of pensioners in Somerset face a stark decision between heating and eating. Shockingly, in Somerset, almost 11% of households live in fuel poverty, and cold weather is a prime cause of over 500 preventable deaths a year – often worsened by living in older or isolated rural homes.
The Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, pictured above, says: “Please think carefully about whether you need your Government Winter Fuel Payment this year. During the cold winter months many older people in Somerset are faced with a tough choice: fuel or food.”
“A Surviving Winter Grant could prevent them having to decide between heating their home or being able to afford a decent meal. So please consider donating to this year’s Surviving Winter appeal if you can. Thank you so much.”
Somerset resident Joh Leach, pictured, added: “I’m very pleased to be supporting Surviving Winter – it’s a campaign I heartily endorse. I love Somerset and strongly believe that it’s important to look after our neighbours – especially in times of need. My wife Lizzie and I have donated our Winter Fuel Payments to this incredibly worthwhile cause, and, if you have the means, I would ask that you would consider the same.”
And local resident Les Davies adds: “It’s time to think about spreading a little warmth to help those who are vulnerable and in need. Can you help by sharing your Winter Fuel Payment with someone less fortunate, through the Surviving Winter campaign? Every little helps and goes to make someone else feel better this winter.”
Last year, over 500 elderly people living in Somerset were helped to stay warm and well through the cold winter months, thanks to the generosity of local donors who donated over £100,000 to Surviving Winter.
SCF hopes to build on the fantastic support they received last year to help even more older people in the county this winter. Thanks to support from a generous funder and the online match funding site, The Big Give, online donations to the campaign that are made during the week-long Big Give Christmas Challenge – from midday, Tuesday, 3 December to midday, Tuesday, 10 December – will be doubled! So, not only will donations be worth twice as much, but SCF will also be able to help even more older and isolated people across Somerset feel warm, safe and well this winter.
SCF is also delighted to announce that Glastonbury Festival organiser and long-time Surviving Winter supporter Michael Eavis CBE has endorsed the campaign for another year.
Michael said: “The Surviving Winter campaign appealed to me right from the start. If everyone who can afford it gave their Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal, hundreds of our pensioners across Somerset would have a more comfortable winter. I’m very happy to donate my Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation again this year.”
Anyone who would like to donate to Surviving Winter should visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949.
For information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant, please contact either Community Council for Somerset on 01823 331222 or Age UK Somerset on 01823 345610 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter
Michael Eavis, Founder of Glastonbury Festivals, says: “The Surviving Winter campaign appealed to me right from the start. If everyone who can afford it gave their Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal, hundreds of our pensioners across Somerset would have a more comfortable winter. I’m very happy to donate my Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation again this year.”