Surviving Winter Appeal - Urgent Update
As temperatures outside stay resolutely bitter, and the cold snap looks set to continue well into February, the Office for National Statistics has released figures on the number of excess winter deaths from the beginning of December to the 16th of January. Over that 7 week period, there were a staggering 8,800 more excess winter deaths than the average predicted by ONS, and the statistics suggest that by 31st of March the numbers will have reached a 15 year peak of over 40,000. Excess deaths are not just deaths of those who would have died due to illness or old age, they are deaths that can be strongly linked to cold temperatures and the effect of living in a cold home.
Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal is vital to help people who suffer from fuel poverty and cannot stay warm. Over 270 households have already been helped by the appeal and it is making a real difference, enabling people to purchase heating oil, pay gas and electric bills, and buy logs or even food, warmer clothing and blankets.
We still desperately need more donations to meet the need in our local communities this winter. The appeal has been supported by almost 400 donors from every corner of Somerset who have raised nearly £65,000 to date, but our charity partners are using every penny of this to help people stay warm. At present we calculate that we need to raise another £13,000 just to meet the expected demand from the charitable groups reaching older people in greatest need.
One pensioner who has already been helped said: “We would like to say thank you for the cheque, it was very welcome indeed. We will use the money to help pay our heating bills, get some warm clothes that we need and to get some food in the cupboard”.
A £125 grant was given to an elderly gentleman who lives alone in a home that is extremely damp and has major structural issues. The money will help him to heat his home and keep the damp at bay. The Village Agent who contacted him also noted how lonely and isolated this gentleman was, so he has been passed information on transport availability and he now plans to attend the ‘Contact the Elderly’ tea party group.
Please donate to the appeal here and keep spreading the word far and wide!