Winter drive to ensure vulnerable people in Norfolk stay warm

The EDP is backing the SurvivingWinter campaign The EDP is backing the SurvivingWinter campaign

Saturday, October 13, 2012
4:40 PM

Fuel bills are going up yet again. But elderly and vulnerable people face a cold and painful winter because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

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That is why we are asking the people of Norfolk to dig deep once more to help Surviving Winter - an appeal which does exactly what it says on the tin.

Parts of our region suffer levels of fuel poverty as high as Britain’s inner cities, with up to one in four households struggling to pay their bills.

It is the 21st century, yet people still die from the cold in Norfolk while many more face a winter of worry over how they will make ends meet and pay their bills.

The government has no plans to give more financial aid to help.

And the big energy companies are putting their charges up next month, sparking anger at the impact on those least able to afford them.

That is why we need your help.

While the over-60s automatically qualify for a winter fuel payment, not all of them need it. By giving their payment to the appeal, those who can afford to get by without the money can give it to someone for whom a couple of hundred pounds could make a real difference.

Last year, you helped hundreds of vulnerable people with money you donated to Norfolk Community Foundation’s appeal.

The appeal, backed by the Bishop of Norwich, more than doubled its £25,000 target.

As the latest fuel prices rises begin to bite, even more people will need our help when the colder weather comes this winter. So we want to do even better than last year and help raise even more money.

Daphne Claxton, from Great Yarmouth, was struggling this time last year. She needed more oil to see her through the winter, but was still paying off some of the previous year’s bills.

“I’ve got a wonderful family and they help me all the time but I try not to ask them too much and I thought I could cope,” she said.

But the minimum amount of oil she could order was £300. And the only way she could afford it was to buy it on a credit card – meaning she would be in even more debt to pay her fuel bills.

Then a friend saw the Surviving Winter campaign in the EDP.

Mrs Claxton called and a cheque was soon on its way.

“It helped me get on an even footing again, it made all the difference,” she said. “It was quick and easy and we sorted it out mainly over the phone.”

That call had another benefit. Norfolk Community Foundation put Mrs Claxton in touch with Age UK Norfolk, who helped her claim an extra £77 a week in attendance allowance.

“I’ve worked hard all my life and helped others, but I don’t like asking for help in return,” she said. “But I was really glad I did on this occasion. It really helped me get straight and has given me back my independence.”

“My fuel costs were starting to overtake me. Poor health, with no one to help me was enough of a burden without worrying how I was going to keep warm. I feel so much happier and optimistic.”

That’s what one elderly person who was also helped by last year’s appeal told the EDP.

Another who was given a payment to help reduce her fuel debts, to cut the amount being taken from her pension, called and said it was the first time anyone had ever helped her with her bills.

The age of those helped last year ranged from people in their 50s to their early 90s. A 92-year-old who could not afford to run the storage heaters in her home in Great Yarmouth was among the oldest.

Another woman, in her 90s, who lives in Breckland, had become muddled paying her bills and built up a fuel debt of £5,000. Surviving Winter helped with a payment towards her arrears.

A woman in her 70s, who cares for a disabled son, could not afford to pay the £95 a month needed for fuel oil on top of her other household bills. The fund made a payment direct to the oil company to cover the shortfall.

One woman in North Norfolk, living alone in her mid-70s, was left without a cooker after it was condemned and removed by her power supplier. She was given a grant towards a new cooker, as well as a grant towards her gas bill.

To apply for assistance from the Surviving Winter fund, call Age UK Norfolk on 01603 787111.

To apply for assistance from the Warm and Well fund, call the Norfolk Community Foundation on 01603 623958.

To donate to Surviving Winter, use the form on this page or go online to www.norfolkfoundation.com

2 comments

  • Whilst I hve every symphathy with the elderly in keeping warm, Could I draw the readers attention to another group who will be suffering, The single over 50s who are unemployed or underemployed . I know I m one of them, I ws unemployed for two winters20092010. I had to live on sixty five pounds week. I managed to save for a load of wood, and a bunker of coal, I had to eke out the fuel for the winter, hence I was sitting in a cold house , knowing if I heated the house I would not have sufficient fuel to last. I have managed to get two very part time jobs. I am no better of. I cannot get help, I know from talking to others , they are in the same boat. I fear hypothermia victims will now rise in this age bracket..

    Report this comment

    lucy

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

  • This is all becoming quite shocking, just where as a society are we heading? We have people who are relying on the ever increasing food banks to prevent them from starving, and then it is almost certain people will die in their own homes because they can't afford to heat them. It seems we are heading back to the 1919 to 1921 recession. Quite frankly these problems lie on the backs of politicians both past and present. They should be totally ashamed of themselves and it further proves our political system just doesn't work; I mean who would appoint someone to take charge of the economy whose only real other job was refolding towels in Selfridges? Yes it’s one big joke, but sadly it’s no longer funny.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Saturday, October 13, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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