Surviving Winter Campaign Launched

10 November 2011

County Durham Community Foundation is taking part in the Surviving Winter Appeal launched across the UK today to help thousands of vulnerable and older people affected by fuel poverty who are at risk during the winter months.

Following on from the success of County Durham Community Foundation’s Winter Relief Appeal last year, as well as several other community foundations which ran independent appeals, the Community Foundation Network has launched a UK-wide Surviving Winter Appeal.

With rising fuel bills and the prospect of an even colder winter, elderly and vulnerable people are more at risk than ever. Across the UK, it is estimated that 5.4 million households are living in fuel poverty and unable to heat their homes during the harsh winter months. The North East is the worst affected with 375,000 households living in these conditions.

Community Foundations all over the UK are co-ordinating the campaign, which aims to redirect Winter Fuel Payments (WFP) to those who need it most. The campaign is being covered in the North East by County Durham Community Foundation, Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland and Tees Valley Community Foundation. The money raised through the generosity of the British public, will be directly targeted to help those locally who struggle to get through the winter.

County Durham Community Foundation will be distributing the money raised through grants to community groups running winter programmes for the elderly and vulnerable, and also individuals in fuel poverty to help them purchase any of the top ten energy efficient household items and therefore reduce their fuel bills. They will also be working in partnership with infrastructure organisations (such as NEA & AGE UK), to provide workshops to older and vulnerable people in order to help them get out of fuel poverty in the long term.

One group which has received a grant from the fund already is the Blackhall Community Association which runs a ‘Snow Squad’ in the winter months. Volunteers will be delivering hot home-cooked meals to the elderly and vulnerable members of their community who are isolated and lonely during the winter months. Eighty-eight year old Lillian McGlen who received meals from the Snow Squad last year said:
“The meals they delivered were wonderful. They reminded me of the meals my mam used to make when we were kids. If I didn’t have these meals I would have just been eating food heated in the microwave as I can’t make meals or use the cooker anymore.”

Denise Robertson, who has donated her WFP to the appeal in County Durham, will be speaking at the UK launch of the campaign today in the House of Commons. Other celebrities supporting the Surviving Winter Appeal include Sir Terry Wogan, Sir Michael Parkinson, Rosemary Conley, Ann Widdecombe, Jonathan Dimbleby and Sir David Jason. Sir David said:
“Staying warm and healthy in our cold winters is something most of us take for granted. However, when the idea of those more fortunate “handing on” their winter fuel payments to local, vulnerable people was presented, I wanted to pledge my payment to the “Surviving Winter Appeal”. It would be great to think that all those people who are in a position to forego part or all of their own winter fuel payment could join this great scheme and spread a little warmth”.

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 most need this winter. To donate by text send WARM10 £10 to 70070 or visit www.localgiving.com/communityfoundation/county-durham to make an online donation in your area. Alternatively fill in this form and send it, along with your donation, to FREEPOST CDCF. To find out more about the Surviving Winter Campaign visit cdcf.org.uk/surviving-winter-appeal or follow @SurviveWinterNE.