22 February 2013
Surviving Winter, the campaign supported by Saga which raises money to help older and vulnerable people stay warm and well, has made a ‘last call’ for donations today. The call comes as many of those struggling with the cold weather receive their winter fuel bills – unwelcome post after an exceptionally cold few months.
Dame Helen Mirren has shown her support for the campaign by donating her winter fuel payment – joining many generous pensioners across the UK who ‘recycle’ their payment. The money comes in to community foundations, independent charities which work with local philanthropists to meet local needs. The foundations turn donations around almost immediately by giving grants to individuals in need and the groups that support them. Surviving Winter grants pay for fuel bills, warmth packs, boiler repairs and hot meals. In some areas, hundreds of grants have already been handed out – but the floods at the end of last year have left more people in need. The UK Community Foundations (UKCF), which runs the campaign, is making a ‘last call’ for donations to help those people still struggling to see out the winter. NEA, the national fuel poverty charity, is supporting the appeal, along with the charity Turn2us.
Dame Helen Mirren said:
“I am proud to be supporting the Surviving Winter appeal once again. I believe passionately that we need to support the vulnerable and elderly in our local communities. It’s a tragedy that thousands of older people struggle to get through the winter months. But by donating my Winter Fuel Payment to the appeal, I know I am helping an elderly person enjoy a warm and healthy winter.”
The community foundations say they’ve helped an increasing number of cancer sufferers, many of whom are slipping into fuel poverty as Macmillan Cancer Support highlighted last month. In Oxfordshire, grants have gone to patients at Maggie’s Centre, which offers holistic care to terminally ill patients. In Sussex, Age UK Brighton and Hove has given out grants to cancer patients, and this is echoed elsewhere in the country.
Matt Pilkington, Development Director at UKCF, said:
“This winter has been exceptionally cold. We all complain, but for older and seriously ill people it can be life-threatening, and we’re finding more cancer patients asking for help.
“We are extremely grateful for all the donations from the generous British public, including many from people who’ve given up their winter fuel payment. If anyone can afford to donate and hasn’t yet, you can still give at www.survivingwinter.org.uk.”
Tim Pethick Managing Director, Saga Magazine commented
“Saga are delighted to have supported the Surviving Winter campaign for its second year. This campaign has resonated well with our customers, many of whom have been looking for a way to be able to give back, or recycle their winter fuel payments in the years when they need it less – the Surviving Winter Campaign has given them just that.”
The charity Turn2us helps people in financial need access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face, through partner organisations. They have been compiling a ‘fuel poverty’ map of the UK, which can be seen here.
Turn2us Director Alison Taylor said:
“We have seen a huge rise this winter in the number of people visiting our fuel poverty website to complete the map and look for financial help, and we are hearing some very distressing stories from those who are being hit the hardest.
“Of those who have filled our map in, a staggering 71% are shown to be in fuel poverty. With energy price rises, increasing costs of other basic life essentials, and for some, falling incomes, it is inevitable that growing numbers of households will be affected. We urge anyone struggling with their bills to check their eligibility for any financial support at www.turn2us.org.uk.”
Notes to Editors
For media enquiries and interview bids about Surviving Winter please contact Bridget Hargreave, Lucia Jendekova or John Hood at Linstock Communications 020 7089 2080 or email email@example.com
Case studies of individuals and groups helped by Surviving Winter grants are available – please contact the team at Linstock if you would like more details.
To find out more about National Energy Action contact Sarah Wright on firstname.lastname@example.org/0191 269 2942
For enquiries about Saga and interviews contact Lisa Harris on 01303 774716 or email email@example.com
Celebrities supporting Surviving Winter include: Stephen Fry, Johnny Ball, Sir David Jason, Sir Terry Wogan, Ann Widdecombe, Bernard Cribbens, Dickie Davies, Roger Lloyd Pack, Selina Scott, Michael Eavis, Angela Rippon, Melvyn Bragg and Dame Vera Lynn.
For advice and information on how to reduce your fuel bills call the independent Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99.
Background on Surviving Winter
If you can donate, please click here:
Alternatively, you can make donations by cheque. Please make cheques payable to ‘Community Foundation Network – Surviving Winter Campaign’ and post them to:
Surviving Winter Campaign
Community Foundation Network
12 Angel Gate
320-326 City Road
London EC1V 2PT
If you are a UK taxpayer you can use Gift Aid to make your donations go further. Charities can claim Gift Aid tax relief of 25p on every pound that you give. Please download and complete the Gift Aid Declaration form and include it with your cheque.