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Help our appeal to keep Norfolk’s elderly warm this winter

PUBLISHED: 08:15 12 November 2015 | UPDATED: 08:15 12 November 2015

Joan Reeve from Norwich was among those helped by last year's appeal. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Joan Reeve from Norwich was among those helped by last year's appeal. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A few hundred pounds might not just mean an elderly person can afford to heat their home this winter. It could even save their life.

How grant helped Joan

Last winter Joan Reeve was facing the heat or eat dilemma until the Saving Winter appeal stepped in to help her survive the Christmas chill.

The 72-year-old Norwich woman’s electricity and gas bills began piling up when she switched providers, but a friend put her in touch with Age UK Norfolk, who helped her keep her heating on.

Ms Reeve, said: “I was being charged so much I couldn’t afford anything. I’ve been here in this house for 40 years and I didn’t know what I was going to do.

“Someone at my church who volunteers for Age UK told me about the grant, so I thought I would apply.”

In 2011, Age UK Norfolk launched its Surviving Winter appeal, a lifeline for people struggling to manage their heating bills, which believes no-one should have to choose between eating and heating their home.

Within a matter of days a phone call confirmed that a grant of £150 would soon be arriving from the Surviving Winter appeal.

Ms Reeve added: “I was so relieved, it has made a big difference. Instead of worrying myself silly and wondering if on Christmas day me and my visitors would be sitting here freezing, we could enjoy the day.”

Since the appeal began, the charity has given out more than £156,499 in grants and is funded by the generosity of those that receive, but don’t depend on, the government winter fuel payment who choose to donate it to help those that are struggling.

Surviving Winter appeal coordinator Jasmine Toombs said: “We speak to people and let them know within a couple of days for peace of mind, it takes a little longer for the cheque to arrive but it lets them know help is coming.

“Elderly people at home all day need to have their heating on throughout, unlike people going out to work. We are there to help them with the costs of winter.”

To apply for a Surviving Winter grant, contact Age UK Norfolk on 0300 500 1217.

That’s the message from two Norfolk charities as they team up with the EDP its sister titles to launch this year’s Surviving Winter Appeal.

With a colder-than average winter predicted, the worry has already started for many vulnerable households. When temperatures drop, some are left facing a stark dilemma: Heat or eat.

Jasmine Toombs from Age UK Norfolk said: “Older people are much more vulnerable to the cold weather and winter can be fatal for those who are unable to afford to heat their homes adequately.

“The Surviving Winter Appeal grants help people to get through the winter safely and the extra support that Age UK Norfolk can give to those in need of a grant can mean longer term solutions to get them out of the fuel poverty trap.”

Graham Tuttle, chief executive of the Norfolk Community Foundation, said. “The Surviving Winter appeal has grown considerably since its launch in 2011 and over that time, hundreds of people have kindly donated their winter fuel payment which has helped to keep those in need warm over the winter months.

“Whilst the last couple of winters have appeared deceptively mild, there is still a real need for those suffering hardship and we would urge anyone who can afford to forgo their payment to make a donation this year to help to keep the vulnerable in Norfolk warm and healthy.”

Last year’s appeal helped more than 100 households across Norfolk. As well as providing money towards fuel bills, grants were also made towards the cost of new cookers, a new boiler and repairs to central heating.

The foundation is appealing for better-off households, which receive the non-means tested winter fuel payment, to donate it to help those who are struggling.

Even if you don’t receive a winter fuel payment, you can still make a donation of any size.

There are a number of ways that you can give:

Online

To make an online donation, click here. You can also pay by text or BACS transfer – call 01603 623958 or click here.

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