December 21 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Cuts in government funding and rising fuel bills will leave many more elderly people struggling to keep warm this winter, with some facing a stark choice – heat or eat. But as the Norfolk Community Foundation, Age UK Norfolk and the EDP team up to launch this year’s Surviving Winter campaign, you can help make a difference.
If you want to know the difference your donation can make, ask Billy Campbell.
The 61-year-old retired road worker suffers from emphysema, heart problems and arthritis, and is on oxygen at night and also sometimes during the daytime.
The Surviving Winter appeal has helped him have a new radiator fitted to the living room of his home in King’s Park, Dereham.
“What many don’t understand is that when you’re elderly the cold can actually be painful and having a constant gentle heating source is really important. You go downhill quickly otherwise. If you’ve got mobility problems you can’t move about to keep warm either.”
Mr Campbell said he would have found himself forced to choose between heating and eating if the fund had not stepped in and paid £150 towards the £275 radiator.
“The only way I could have afforded the radiator would have been to cut back heavily on food for a while, and that’s not healthy either.
“Many elderly people eat little enough as it is. One of my neighbours did that last year and nearly made herself ill until I gave her the number to call Age UK Norfolk, so I know the help really does go to those who need it most.
“I think most people in my position would choose heat over food.”
Put just a pound in the pot and you could help keep a needy elderly person warm this winter.
If just one in eight of us did it, we’d raise enough money to help 1,000 of Norfolk’s most vulnerable households this winter.
They are going to need our help more than ever this year, with bills expected to rise by up to 10pc.
While the government insists it understands the pressures many are now under, it has also cut the Warm Homes, Healthy People funding which last year gave a £100,000 helping hand to Norfolk’s elderly.
You can give a donation direct to the appeal at any branch of Barclays Bank in Norfolk. Just fill in the credit slip using the following details:
Surviving Winter Appeal
Sort Code: 20-62-53
Bank Account: 03282503
You can now donate to the Surviving Winter campaign by text from any UK network via JustTextGiving. The campaign’s code is NFCF11, which needs to be followed by the amount £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 (max), and send to 70070.
For example: A donor would text ‘NFCF11 £5’ and send it to 70070 to donate £5.
All text donations are free and no VAT is charged.
Some supporters choose to donate an amount equivalent to their own winter fuel allowance if they do not need it themselves, or pop a cheque in the post for the amount of their choice. Please make it payable to the Norfolk Community Foundation and sent to Norfolk Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TN.
Graham Tuttle, chief executive of the Norfolk Community Fund, said: “This year the need is unfortunately going to be much greater, particularly as we have a higher elderly population than most counties.
“That’s why we have to be increasingly innovative with our fund raising methods and consider how we can encourage new donors, or there will be a huge shortfall which will hit our elderly really hard.
“We’re doing everything we can to stop that happening and we hope the people of Norfolk will get on board by donating straight away as soon as they see how easy it is.”
This year’s appeal target is £100,000. If that sounds steep, it would take just one in eight of Norfolk’s population to donate £1 to reach it.
With the amount needed to make a difference often as little as £100, that figure would mean the fund could help up to 1,000 of Norfolk’s neediest elderly residents in real danger of having to make a stark choice between fuel or food this year.
This year the foundation, which manages the campaign, has teamed up with Barclays Bank and JustTextGiving to make it as easy as possible to donate.
“We are really pleased to announce that Barclays have agreed to support the Surviving Winter appeal,” said Mr Tuttle. “People can now make donations over the counter at Barclays branches across Norfolk. This is such a kind gesture and one that makes giving to this wonderful appeal that much easier.”
Jasmine Toombs, Age UK Norfolk’s Surviving Winter co-ordinator, said: “We are very proud to be part of the Surviving Winter appeal and we get enormous satisfaction from ensuring older people in Norfolk have this service to fall back on in times of significant need.
“It is no longer a seasonal job - we continue to give grants out throughout the year peaking in October, November and December.
“We spend time with each applicant requesting a grant to ascertain how we can best help them and often find we can help them in other ways too, such as providing benefit advice, recommending debt advisers, credit unions and oil companies to try and ensure that people are given the best advice and support to help them climb out of the fuel poverty trap.”
Last year, your donations helped 459 households do just that. Supporters included the actor Roger Lloyd-Pack, who lives in Norfolk, who donated his own winter fuel allowance to help someone more needy.
Latest figures show that across the UK, some 14.6pc of households are in fuel poverty. This is defined as spending more than 10pc of their income on heating their main living room to 21C. In parts of Norfolk, the percentage in poverty is far higher than the national average, with the north of the county faring the worst with a rate of 22.3pc.
West Norfolk comes off second-worst, with 18.5pc of households in fuel poverty, while for parts of Breckland, Great Yarmouth and south Norfolk, the figure isn’t far behind, at just over 17pc.
Age UK warned that elderly people living in poorly-heated homes were more likely to become seriously ill and die during the winter.
Over the last 10 years, it calculated that there have been 26,700 “excess winter deaths” - something like 200 a day, or eight an hour.
The longer someone is exposed to the cold, the more at risk they are of problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia or depression - all four conditions increase in cold weather, along with injuries caused by accidents in the home.
Yet while the statistics are shameful, it takes a relatively small sum - sometimes as little as £100 or £200 - to spare someone from a winter of worry or worse.
Every penny donated to the appeal goes straight where it’s needed - often within a few days of your donation being received.
Giving is easier than ever too this year, with text messaging available for donations form £1 to £10.
One pound might not seem like much. But if just one in eight of us gave it this winter, we’d raise £100,000 to help some of the most vulnerable members of our community see out this winter.
•Don’t just sit there and suffer if you are cold. That’s the message as this year’s appeal gets under way. As well as help for those struggling to pay their bills, the appeal has also given grants to those who rely on oil heating, who have difficulty finding the money for a tanker delivery.
•Surviving Winter also welcomes referrals from statutory agencies, neighbours, carers and relatives of those in need.
•To request support, call Age UK Norfolk on 01603 787111.