Campaign launched to help tackle fuel poverty for older people
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has launched the Surviving Winter 2019-2020 campaign, to help tackle fuel poverty for older and vulnerable people struggling to keep warm across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight during winter time.
Those across the region who are in receipt of the Government ‘Winter Fuel Payment’ are being asked to donate their payment to the campaign if they are in a fortunate enough position to be able to do so. In addition, individuals, families and businesses wanting to lend their support to ‘Surviving Winter’ can make a donation to help those in need.
When the weather gets chilly, most of us simply boost up our heating thermostat without a second thought as to how we will pay the fuel bill when it arrives. For people living within limited means, this is sadly not an option, as choosing to keep warm means using finances that would otherwise go towards essentials such as food or medicine.
The Office of National Statistics indicate that 1,682 more people died in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight during the winter of 2017-2018 compared to the rest of the year, with National Energy Action (NEA) claiming that living in a cold house is a major factor in increasing susceptibility to serious illness and death. In the 2018-2019 winter period, there were 21,900 excess winter deaths across England, and NEA believe that up to 30% of these deaths were attributable to the impact that cold homes have on those with respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases.
The funds raised by the Surviving Winter campaign are awarded as grants to vulnerable local people to ensure they can afford to stay warm, eat well and remain mobile during the coldest months. Practical help can also be provided to help with travel to doctor’s appointments, assistance with shopping for essential items and support to get out of the house and meet up with friends at a local community club for some company and a natter over a cup of tea.
Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive at HIWCF, commented: “The campaign relies almost wholly on donations of unwanted winter fuel payments, and last year we raised over £9,400 from generous donors who were inspired to help those in need across the region. We know that an increasing number of people are struggling to get by on a daily basis, you only need to look at the increase in people using foodbanks to see this, and for them, winter is a real challenge due to fuel bill prices and the increase in the cost of living. Even attempting to keep one room warm in their homes is not possible, and so we are asking individuals, families and businesses to make a donation to help local people in need, or if you are in a position to do so, please help us by recycling your annual winter fuel payment to HIWCF.”
To donate to the Surviving Winter Campaign, go to www.hiwcf.com and click the blue ‘Donate’ button to take you through to the Virgin Money Giving Platform for HIWCF. Please key in ‘Surviving Winter' in the message section to ensure that they correctly allocate your gift on your behalf.
Alternatively, please send your donation by cheque to: The Chief Executive, Surviving Winter Campaign, HIWCF, Dame Mary Fagan House, Lutyens Close, Basingstoke, RG24 8AG. Cheques should be made payable to Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation.