Denise Robertson supports Surviving Winter Appeal

11 November 2011

Denise Robertson, resident agony aunt on ITV’s ‘This Morning’, pledged her support to the national Surviving Winter Appeal by attending the launch this week at the House of Commons, managed locally by County Durham Community Foundation.

The Community Foundation is calling on those who can afford to forego their Winter Fuel Payment (WFP), to donate it to the appeal in order to help those for whom it is not nearly enough. Money raised by the appeal will be distributed in three main ways. Grants will be given to community groups running winter programmes to help the elderly and vulnerable as well as to individuals living in fuel poverty to help them purchase our top ten energy efficient household items. The Community Foundation will also be working in partnership with infrastructure organisations such as NEA, to provide workshops to older and vulnerable people in order to help them out of fuel poverty long term.

More than 400 people died in County Durham & Darlington last winter from causes directly attributable to poor living conditions and the cold, and over 58,000 households live in fuel poverty. In more rural areas, such as Wear Valley & Teesdale, almost 50% of households are affected by fuel poverty, with a third of people across the North East living in fuel poverty.

A launch was held at the House of Commons this week to launch a national campaign run by community foundations. Piloted last year by ten community foundations throughout the UK, this year it has turned into a national campaign, supported by SAGA magazine and NEA (National Energy Action) who are also based in the North East.

Andrew Martell, Divisional Director of Investment Management Company Brewin Dolphin and former High Sheriff of County Durham was one of the first to support the campaign and also attended the launch. Andrew is a Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham who has been involved with the voluntary sector for over 30 years and donated to the pilot scheme last year run by County Durham Community Foundation in partnership with the Northern Echo.

Martyn Lewis, ex-ITN newscaster hosted the launch and other celebrities supporting the appeal are Sir Terry Wogan, Sir David Jason, fitness guru Rosemary Conley, Bernard Cribbins - famous for the song ‘Right Said Fred’ and football pundit Dickie Davies.

Denise has pledged her support to the appeal in County Durham and will be endorsing the campaign nationally. Yesterday she spoke at the national launch in the House of Commons about why she thinks it is important to support the campaign. She said:
“The Surviving Winter Appeal is an important initiative and I am more than happy to support it. Winter weather conditions are worsening and many families and individuals are struggling to keep themselves warm as they live in fuel poverty. If you can spare it, giving your Winter Fuel Payment to someone who needs it desperately is a wonderful thing to do.”

You do not have to be in receipt of a Winter Fuel Payment to support the appeal. All donations are welcome and will help the Community Foundation to support those who are in the most need this winter. To donate by text send WARM10 £10 to 70070 or visit to make an online donation in your area. Alternatively fill in the form below and send it, along with your donation, to FREEPOST CDCF. Donations from postcodes covered by neighbouring community foundations in Tees Valley, North Yorks or Tyne & Wear will be forwarded on to them for distribution as this is a national campaign covered by the community foundation movement.

To find out more about the Surviving Winter Campaign visit or follow @SurviveWinterNE.