Last year the UK experienced its biggest winter death toll in years with an estimated 20,000 more deaths above the average, and a further 2,000 attributed to the ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap that struck the nation in late February causing widespread snowfall and disruption. The majority of these winter deaths are elderly people over the age of 70 – either due to cold-related illness or simply not being able to get warm during freezing conditions.
Surviving Winter is a national campaign and has been run locally by Suffolk Community Foundation every year since 2011, cumulatively raising more than £600,000 so far for vulnerable and elderly people struggling to pay heating bills in Suffolk. The campaign urges people to donate their winter fuel payment – a single sum of money between £100 – £399 paid to over 65s.
The payment is not means-tested and is therefore paid automatically to all eligible claimants, regardless of their own respective wealth. While many people will use this valuable payment towards heating costs and should be encouraged to do so, the campaign urges those who receive the payment – and don’t need it – to donate it to the campaign. The money raised is then redistributed to vulnerable people right across the county who are struggling to heat their homes.
Jo Leah, General Manager Retail & Distribution said: “The Surviving Winter appeal plays such an important role in saving the lives of older vulnerable people during the winter months. We look forward to giving a warm welcome to anyone wishing to make a donation in any of our branches across the county.”
This year the campaign has received backing from heavy-hitters such as the Ipswich Star, East Anglian Daily Times, BBC Radio Suffolk and Ipswich Town Football Club. We’re delighted to be supporting this campaign for another successive year.
Donations can be made by visiting any Ipswich Building Society branch, online via www.suffolkcf.org.uk, by phone on 01473 602602 or by forwarding a cheque to Suffolk Community Foundation.