Winter poverty means the choice between heating or eating
- Credit: NORFOLK COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
Christmas is just around the corner and as families prepare to gather, some will be left cold and alone this festive period.
The annual drive to help elderly and isolated residents survive winter has been underway since September, and has handed out more than £8,000 in grants to help pay for heating costs for those in need across Norfolk.
One recipient of the Surviving Winter campaign, who asked to remain anonymous, said: 'Without the grant I would be sitting in a cold sitting room, covered with my blanket and hot water bottle and feeling alone'.
'I was living on a low income, and still am, so I was unable to put my heating on for too long, due to the expense and my living was so cold.'
Another was introduced to the Surviving Winter campaign by their daughter.
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'I could not afford to heat my home and eat as well; I lost three stone in weight after losing my partner,' they said. 'The grant means my house is heated and warm and I am now living in a happier environment, also able to buy food. Without the grant I don't think my life would have been worth living.'
Every winter in Norfolk around 620 additional people die compared to the summer – and many of these deaths are preventable.
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Every year Norfolk Community Foundation run the Surviving Winter campaign to help fund heating bills for older people who can't afford them.
Norfolk Community Foundation CEO Claire Cullens said: 'Winter presents problems for many vulnerable people across the county with Norfolk having the second highest number of excess winter deaths regionally.
'Managing fuel costs on low budgets means families and elderly residents often quite literally have to choose between heat or eat. To support those most in need, NCF have put together the Surviving Winter appeal. The money raised will support the critical work that Age UK and Norwich Foodbank do, to help people through the Winter months safely. Last year EDP readers raised nearly £50,000 for the Surviving Winter Appeal and we know that with more families than ever facing fuel and food poverty we need to raise even more support this winter.'
As part of a new trial partnership with Norwich Foodbank, the campaign has also given out fuel vouchers for 16 adults and six children alongside food packages.