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Too many still have to choose between eating or heating – but you can help

PUBLISHED: 05:30 10 November 2018

Organisations from all over the county at the launch  of the Surviving Winter Campaign 2018   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Organisations from all over the county at the launch of the Surviving Winter Campaign 2018 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A campaign to help vulnerable people in Suffolk heat their homes this winter is launched today.

Joshua Hopkins, Neil Hawes, Brad Jones, Jo Leah 
and Helen Raven at the launch of the Surviving Winter Campaign 2018   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJoshua Hopkins, Neil Hawes, Brad Jones, Jo Leah and Helen Raven at the launch of the Surviving Winter Campaign 2018 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Community Foundation’s (SCF) Surviving Winter Appeal, backed by the EADT, has raised £615,000 in the last eight years, helping thousands of people.

It asks people to donate their winter fuel payment, if they can afford to, or simply give money to the appeal. That money is then redistributed immediately to vulnerable people struggling to pay heating bills.

The 2017/18 appeal alone raised £110,00 and warmed a record breaking 668 Suffolk homes during the harsh winter months.

However, support for this devastating issue is still very much needed – with too many people still left facing the stark financial choice of heating their home or eating.

Some vulnerable people struggle to afford heating bills over winter.  Picture: MONKEY BUSINESS IMAGESSome vulnerable people struggle to afford heating bills over winter. Picture: MONKEY BUSINESS IMAGES

In Suffolk alone, 310 vulnerable people died from causes directly attributed cold and poor living conditions during the winter months.

This year, Suffolk Community Foundation has partnered with local charities and businesses to deliver this appeal, including Citizens Advice Bureaux, Age UK Suffolk, The Rural Coffee Caravan and Meet Up Mondays, Warm Homes Healthy People, EADT, East of England Co-operative, Hopkins Homes, Ipswich Building Society and Ipswich Town Football Club.

“We are so thankful that support for the Surviving Winter Appeal is strong every year. Suffolk remains the most generous county, making more donations than anywhere else in the UK,” said Tim Holder, head of public affairs at SCF.

‘’Every single penny given to Suffolk’s Surviving Winter appeal will continue to be distributed almost immediately to an older person in Suffolk who needs additional financial help to heat their home.

“Staying warm is vital this winter, so those who need their winter fuel payment should absolutely hold onto it. However, if you don’t need, then please donate it and help us save lives this winter.

“You can make a donation online via www.suffolkcf.org.uk, by phone on Ipswich 602602, by forwarding a cheque to Suffolk Community Foundation or visiting any branch of Ipswich Building Society.

If you are over the age of 62 and need help heating your home, then the team at Citizen’s Advice are there to help.

Nelleke Van Helfteren, deputy manager at Citizen’s Advice, said: ‘’Just one call to 01473 298634 and we can begin to help you.

“This year we will continue to assist applicants to make sure they are receiving all the additional help they are entitled to. Our Money Team are here to help with any requests from older people needing help.”

The team at AGE UK Suffolk and The Rural Coffee Caravan’s Meet Up Mondays project will also be helping.

And to further combat loneliness during the colder months, Age UK Suffolk are offering a befriending scheme.

Jo Reeder, head of fundraising and marketing for Age UK Suffolk, said: “There are thousands of older people in the county who go for months without having a meaningful conversation - this is a dreadful statistic that should not be a reality.”

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, said: “‘Supporting older vulnerable people to stay warm and well in their homes during the winter months saves lives and significantly reduces hospital admissions. This certainly benefits the individual, but also society as whole.”

Ipswich Building Society is backing the appeal, and general manager Jo Leah said: “The appeal plays such an important role in saving the lives of older vulnerable people during the winter months. We look forward to giving a warm welcome to anyone wishing to make a donation in any of our branches across the county.”

George Vestey, High Sheriff of Suffolk, said it was “shocking” that 25,000 older people in Suffolk live below the poverty line.

“The appeal has been raising more and more money every year, but sadly the need for it continues to increase significantly too. I would ask everyone in Suffolk to give generously to this appeal and save lives this winter.”

Meanwhile, Joshua Hopkins, of the Hopkins Charitable Fund said: “The campaign resonates very clearly with our commitment to supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and the recent announcement of our Winter Crisis Fund.”

How to make a donation

There are a number of ways to donate.

Donate online here or call Suffolk Community Foundation on 01473 602602.

You can donate by cheque using the coupon printed in this newspaper, or in person at any branch of Ipswich Building Society

To receive help, simply visit any branch of Citizen’s Advice in Suffolk or call 01473 298634.

By pledging your Winter Fuel Payment, or alternatively simply making a donation, you can save lives and help vulnerable older people in Suffolk.

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