Record numbers in Norfolk get help to keep warm this winter

Pensioners / oap/ old people keeping warm through the Winter. heating / bills/ electric / gas / fire

Pensioners / oap/ old people keeping warm through the Winter. heating / bills/ electric / gas / fire / cold / Photo:Copy:For: Evening news-NEWSEvening News pics © 2007(01603) 772434 - Credit: Evening News © 2007

More than 450 needy households across Norfolk were helped to heat their homes, after record donations to the county's Surviving Winter Appeal.

Donations from Eastern Daily Press readers have provided a vital lifeline to hundreds of needy pensioners, helping the campaign to be the most successful yet, raising morev than £50,000 from public donations alone and attracting additional funding of £100,000 from Norfolk County Council.

Run by the Norfolk Community Foundation and Age UK Norfolk, the campaign has been supported by the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich and the EDP. Writer and presenter Stephen Fry tweeted his support to his 5m Twitter followers early on in the appeal.

The Norfolk-based broadcaster told his 4.9m Twitter followers it was 'a great idea'.

'The Surviving Winter appeal is a great idea and one I support wholeheartedly as any donations given reach those who need it quickly,' he added.


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'Norfolk is beautiful but in winter it can be quite challenging, especially for those with limited resources to cope.

'Now the weather has turned colder and energy prices are rising this couldn't be more timely.'

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Norfolk-based actor Roger Lloyd-Pack donated his own winter fuel allowance to help those in greater need. Graham Tuttle, chief executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation said; 'We're really grateful to everyone who sent a donation during the appeal, it's made a massive impact.

'Last year at this point 239 grants were given to those in need, but this year that figure has increased substantially to 459.

'But with the winter being a particularly cold one that additional funding has been very much needed. Although it's great that we're now starting to see some sunshine, as the cold weather is still a threat in spring this year we are also keen to continue helping those who still need help or may have run out of fuel now and are unable to stock up in case of any further cold snaps.

'Our message is if you're still struggling don't despair and don't risk being cold. Please get in touch to see if we can help, it's not too late.'

Money received has helped support applicants with minimal savings or low incomes in a variety of ways, from helping with heating costs, to boiler repair costs, and even replacing broken cookers to ensure pensioners could still cook themselves a hot meal.

Jasmine Toombs, from Age UK Norfolk, said: 'We helped many pensioners who were too worried about the cost of their bills to keep sensibly warm without our help, and knowing a grant from the appeal was on the way often really reduced these anxieties and enabled them to get their heating back on.

'We have also worked to increase awareness with health and social care professionals and other voluntary sector workers and they have made referrals on behalf of individuals in need too, so the fund really has a significant reach to get to those who really need it most.

'It's hard to imagine what some of these applicants would have done without help, but we know that the difference these many small and timely grants make can be enormous.'

EDP editor Nigel Pickover said; 'When it comes to big hearts supporting vital causes, there are none better or more considerate than EDP readers. We are thrilled this campaign was such a success and can't thank everyone enough.'

Anyone needing help should contact Age UK Norfolk on 01603 787111. Norwich residents can call Age UK Norwich on 01603 496333.

To find out more about the work of the Norfolk Community Foundation and other funds available go to www.norfolkfoundation.com.

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