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Surviving Winter appeal to help keep elderly and vulnerable warm is needed more than ever

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WILTSHIRE Community Foundation is launching its twelfth annual Surviving Winter appeal to help keep hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people warm and save lives over the coldest months. 

The Surviving Winter appeal, which has been running since 2010, will again be funding partners Age UK, Warm and Safe Wiltshire and both Swindon and Wiltshire Citizens Advice so they can provide grants of a minimum of £200 and energy-saving or benefits advice to people in fuel poverty. 

Last year the appeal raised £142,000 and helped more than 1,200 people pay fuel bills and save energy, as well as apply for other benefits. 

This year, with the energy crisis forcing fuel bills up and rising food prices increasing the pressure on the budgets of those on low incomes, the appeal is needed more than ever”, said the community foundation’s joint chief executive Fiona Oliver. 

“We first launched this appeal because we were shocked that 30,000 people in Wiltshire live in fuel poverty, meaning that they can’t afford to heat their homes and still pay for food,” she said. 

“We have all seen household bills rising this winter so the situation is even worse than last year when we were still in the midst of the pandemic. On average 300 people in Wiltshire and Swindon die of cold-related illness each winter because they are unable to keep their homes warm. That is just not acceptable in a civilised country and we are determined to do something to change that.” 

The community foundation is asking people who receive a government Winter Fuel Payment and feel they don’t need all or some of it to donate it to the appeal. “We have had wonderful support in recent years, particularly last year, so we are hoping that people will be just as generous this year,” said Fiona Oliver. 

Age UK Wiltshire will use money from the appeal to award £200 grants towards fuel bills as well as fund advisors to help people claim benefits they may not be aware they are entitled to. 

In Wiltshire almost a quarter of homes are old, in poor condition or are poorly insulated, compared to a UK average of 20 per cent. That figure in Wiltshire rises to 31 per cent in rural areas. 

Donate to Surviving Winter at wiltshirecf.org.uk. 

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