Sir John Hall serves up lunch at Shildon People's Centre

17 November 2011

 Local entrepreneur Sir John Hall showed his support for the national appeal run by Community Foundations, Surviving Winter, by serving lunches at the Shildon People’s Centre in Durham.


The Surviving Winter Appeal, managed in County Durham & Darlington by County Durham Community Foundation, calls on those who can afford to forego their Winter Fuel Payment (WFP), to donate it 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 (National Energy Action), to provide workshops to older and vulnerable people in order to help them out of fuel poverty long term.


Fuel poverty is defined as the need to spend over 10% off household income on fuel costs to maintain adequate warmth for health and comfort.


One community group which has already received a grant from the appeal is the Shildon People’s Centre which is based in an extremely deprived ward of Sedgefield. The Centre holds a daily luncheon club which is mostly attended by single elderly and vulnerable people who cannot cook for themselves. The provision of home-cooked hot meals in a friendly and sociable environment is essential for the health and wellbeing of many of these people.


Funding of £2,210 from the Surviving Winter Appeal will allow the Centre to provide an additional luncheon club at the weekends when isolation is at its highest. One elderly man who has benefited from this said:

“I would not have eaten anything substantial if it had not been for the meals provided and I would have been alone all day. I am very grateful for the company the lunch club provides me with.”


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 33% of people living in fuel poverty in the North East.


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.