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Surviving Winter campaign returns for its seventh year - helping hundreds of the most vulnerable people in Suffolk stay warm

Launch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Launch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Surviving Winter campaign is back in its seventh year having helped more than 600 of the most vulnerable households across Suffolk in 2016.

Launch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Pictured from Ipswich Town is Dan Palfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWNLaunch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Pictured from Ipswich Town is Dan Palfrey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The award-winning campaign, which asks those who receive a Winter Fuel Payment they do not need to donate it to a household that does, raised more than £110,000 last year. More than 700 people donated all or part of their Winter Fuel payment.

This year sees the campaign receive a boost from a high profile new partner - Ipswich Town Football Club.

Organisers hope the involvement of the club will spread their message to a much wider audience, and encourage more men who need to help to come forward.

A new partnership with Citizens Advice will also broaden the scope of this year’s campaign, with advisors working with those in need to secure additional funding such as unclaimed housing, disability or carers allowances.

Tim Holder, development director at the Suffolk Community Foundation, said: “The idea is to reach as many of the most vulnerable people in our county as we can, to help as many as we can of the 25,000 older people living in income deprivation in Suffolk.

“It is great we managed to reach 641 households last year - 150 more than the year before - but wouldn’t it be brilliant if it is 6,000 rather than 600.

“This year we are expanding our partnership to include Ipswich Town Football Club. It gives a whole new audience, men who would not normally come forward for all sorts of reasons.

“The other real step change with the campaign is through our partnership with Citizens Advice.

Launch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Pictured is Tim Holder. Picture: GREGG BROWNLaunch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Pictured is Tim Holder. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We have been able to reach people and find out more about their situation.

“It is great we can help them though the cold months but this means we can see if there is anything else we can do to help them

“Last year of the 641 people we helped, we referred a further 348 for help with claiming disability, carers and housing benefits.”

Brad Jones, editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, said: “We’re proud to be supporting such a great campaign. It’s wrong that so many people have to choose between heating or eating in the coldest winter months, but this campaign can change that.”

Launch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Pictured from Citizens Advice is Nicky Willshire. Picture: GREGG BROWNLaunch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Pictured from Citizens Advice is Nicky Willshire. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The campaign’s new partners

The Surviving Winter campaign has welcomed two new partners on board this year - Ipswich Town Football Club and Citizens Advice.

Dan Palfrey from ITFC said he was keen to spread the word to as many of the club’s fans as possible,

Launch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Picture: GREGG BROWNLaunch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We are just thrilled to be on board,” he said.

“It is a brilliant campaign based on such a simple idea.”

Nicky Willsher, chief officer at Ipswich Citizens Advice, said the organisation would be writing to those who benefited from the campaign last year to see if they have friends who would also benefit.

She said: “When people go back to homes that are cold the difference it makes to their well being and health is huge. We’ve seen terrible situations where people have had to decide whether to eat or have the heating on.

Launch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Picture: GREGG BROWNLaunch of this year's Surviving Winter campaign. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“It makes such a difference to people’s lives actually being able to be warm at winter. This campaign is about Suffolk people helping Suffolk people.”

They will join the campaign’s current partners - Ipswich Building Society, the East of England Co-op, Suffolk Warm Homes Healthy People, Suffolk County Council and the East Anglian Daily Times.

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