Cash boost for Norfolk elderly campaign
Older people in Norfolk have been handed a surprise £100,000 boost to help them get through the winter.
Norfolk County Council’s cabinet yesterday agreed to hand the cash to the Norfolk Community Foundation and Age UK Norfolk for Surviving Winter fund being run by the charities.
The one-off grant, which comes from a forecast underspend on the County Hall budget, will be used to offer small grants of between £100 to £200 to older people struggling to pay fuel bills.
Some of the money will also help pay for further work to look at the underlying need for such support, as heating bills continue to rise.
The Surviving Winter campaign has been backed by the EDP and by the Bishop of Norwich. Last year it raised more than £50,000 – enough to help 237 vulnerable households across the county, so yesterday’s announcement is a massive boost.
County council leader Derrick Murphy said: “This is one way in which some of Norfolk’s most vulnerable residents can directly benefit from the sound management of the council’s finances and our continued determination to drive down costs.
“The winter can be a real struggle for people trying to get by on a pension. With heating costs rising year on year, it is harder than ever for older people to keep warm.
“For some, the stark choice is between heating properly or eating properly. This grant to Age UK Norfolk complements the county council’s Warm Winter campaign and will allow many more older people to receive help,
“I hope that this will take away some of their worries about the cold months ahead.”
Linda Gill, information and advice development manager at Age UK Norfolk, said the cash boost had come completely out of the blue.
She said: “I couldn’t be more delighted. This amount of money will make a real difference to older people in fuel poverty or fuel debt. It’s tremendous news.”
Graham Tuttle, director of Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “Ourselves and the Bishop of Norwich are very grateful for the award made by the county council.
“Given the demand which there has already been placed on the fund, every donation will help us to help even more people.”
To apply for help from the Surviving Winter fund, call Age UK Norfolk on 01603 787111.
To donate to Surviving Winter, go to www.norfolkfoundation.com
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