Surviving Winter was started by people who wanted to donate their Winter Fuel Payment to help others in Somerset less fortunate than themselves.
Last winter (2016/17) Somerset Community Foundation provided grants to over 400 older people in Somerset, helping them through the winter months.
Please help us reach our target of supporting 500 isolated and vulnerable people this year.
How to donate
You can support the Surviving Winter appeal by:
- sending a cheque made payable to ‘Somerset Community Foundation’ to our address at the bottom of this page. We can boost the value of your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate if you print, complete and return this Gift Aid Form along with your cheque (ref. SW on the reverse of your cheque)
- calling us on 01749 344949 to make a telephone donation
- making a BACS bank transfer to CAF Bank, Sort Code: 40-52-40, Account Number 00090372 (please use reference 'Surviving Winter')
- donating online by clicking the button below (which will take you to our donation page at the Charities Aid Foundation)
How your donation will help
One of our local partner organisations will visit an older person in need and make a grant to them face-to-face, which can be used to help them stay warm, active and healthy.
Giving grants directly in this way means that not only does an older person receive a vital grant, but they are also put in touch with a local charity that can help them to stay connected during the winter months. For that reason, some of your donation will also be used for essential services, like Meals on Wheels or community transport schemes. This year we are working with our partners to make sure that these benefits extend well beyond an initial grant payment. That way we can reduce the isolation and loneliness that many older people feel in the winter months.
The costs of running the Surviving Winter appeal are met entirely from your Gift Aid contributions, so you can be confident that your donation will reach those who need it the most. But for this reason we also ask you to please Gift Aid your donation if you are able to do so. Gift Aid can be added to donations made by cheque as well as those made over the telephone or online.
Why we need your help this winter
The figures at the top of this page are shocking. But the stories that our partners tell us about the difference a Surviving Winter grant can make demonstrate the real value of local giving.
Last year one of our local community partners made a Surviving Winter grant to an elderly lady in her 90s. She lived alone, and while her Surviving Winter application form was being filled out for her, she talked about how her daughter had taken her own life and that she had no family left. Like many older people in our community, she was struggling on without any real assistance beyond her state pension.
It was a real pleasure to hear that she was able to use her Surviving Winter grant to heat her home without worry. But it was equally pleasing to hear that this meeting allowed our local partner to support her through an assessment for pension credit and attendance allowance, both of which were awarded later that year. This simply would not have happened if Surviving Winter didn’t exist.
Last winter a Surviving Winter grant was made to an elderly couple who live in a mobile caravan in a more remote part of Somerset. The caravan had no mains water and the couple relied on gas bottles for cooking and a generator for their electricity. With declining physical health as well as mental health problems, the husband’s wellbeing depended on them being able to heat their home. As you can imagine, this was an ongoing challenge in such circumstances. The Surviving Winter grant helped to alleviate the pressure they clearly felt, while they also received information about local services.
Surviving Winter cannot solve all the challenges of an ageing society, low incomes, or cold homes. But the examples above do show how a gift from you, made via your local Community Foundation and our community partners, directly benefits those in Somerset who need extra support.
A history of Surviving Winter
Surviving Winter began in 2010 right here in Somerset. We were contacted by one of our donors who offered to give his Winter Fuel Payment to help local pensioners struggling with the cost of staying warm and healthy. He wanted his donation to pay for the everyday essentials that most of us take for granted, such as heating, warm clothing and food.
From this simple idea Surviving Winter has spread across the country, raising £5.5 million nationally and £500,000 in Somerset alone. Over 80,000 older people have received a Surviving Winter grant during this time.
Celebrity Endorsements 2017/18
Les Davies MBE
“Donating all or part of your Winter Fuel Payment to Surviving Winter can help so much. I’m delighted to support such a worthwhile campaign! If you can help, please consider giving your payment to others who are in need. Let’s make an effort to look after those who are less fortunate and make sure everyone stays warm this winter.”
John Leach, John Leach's Muchelney Pottery
“I’m very pleased to be supporting Surviving Winter – it’s a campaign I heartily endorse. I love Somerset and strongly believe that it’s important to look after our neighbours - especially in times of need. My wife Lizzie and I have donated our Winter Fuel Payments to this incredibly worthwhile cause, and, if you have the means, I would ask that you would consider the same.”
The Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells
“Many older people face making difficult financial decisions during the colder months, when their heating bills increase. Winter can be a very lonely time for some, especially those living in the more remote rural areas, so please think carefully about whether you need your Winter Fuel Payment this year and consider donating it to this year’s Surviving Winter appeal. Thank you so much.”
Celebrity Endorsements 2016/17
Val Stones, Great British Bake Off Contestant
"My husband Ian and I have been very lucky in that our pensions allow us to have a decent quality of life, but we know this isn't the same for everyone. We are very happy to give our heating allowance to Surviving Winter because we know it will be used for good."
Michael Eavis, Founder of Glastonbury Festivals
"This campaign appealed to me right from the start. I'm so pleased that it's spread across the country with such amazing success. I think if all the people that can afford to buy their own fuel gave their allowance to Somerset Community Foundation, thousands of our pensioners would have a much happier Christmas. I’m very happy to donate my Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation again this year.”
The Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells
“Winter can be a hard time for older people in fuel poverty; they can additionally suffer the effects of greater loneliness at this time because money that could have gone on transport or social activities has to be spent on fuel. I know many people in Somerset need their top up payment from the Government, but if you don’t then can you donate to someone in greater need via the Surviving Winter appeal?”
“The Surviving Winter Appeal is an important initiative and I am more than happy to support it. Winter weather conditions are worsening and many families and individuals are struggling to keep themselves warm as they live in fuel poverty. If you can spare it, giving your Winter Fuel Payment to someone who needs it desperately is a wonderful thing to do.”
Sir Michael Parkinson
“I fully support the “Surviving Winter Appeal” to assist the elderly and vulnerable to keep warm and healthy during our cold winters. If you are in a position to do so please help by donating all or part of your winter fuel payment to this very worthwhile cause.”
Sir Terry Wogan
“This is an excellent way for local people to help some of the most vulnerable older people in their area. I’ll certainly pass my payment on, and encourage everybody who can, to contribute towards it.”
Sir David Jason
“Staying warm and healthy in our cold winters is something most of us take for granted. However, when the idea of those more fortunate “handing on” their winter fuel payments to local, vulnerable people was presented, I wanted to pledge my payment to the “Surviving Winter Appeal”. It would be great to think that all those people who are in a position to forego part or all of their own winter fuel payment could join this great scheme and spread a little warmth.”
Dame Cleo Laine
“I am very pleased to be donating my Winter Fuel Payment this year because there are so many people here in Milton Keynes that can’t afford the most basic things like a warm home and food on the table. My donation will ease the burden on these people in our coldest months.”
“I’m very happy to give my winter fuel allowance to help someone else who needs it more – how great it is that so many of us “of a certain age” are all linking up in Leicestershire and across the whole country like this, to make something really special happen.”
“I will be the first to donate my Winter Fuel Payment to the Surviving Winter Appeal. This small gesture is such an easy and obvious way to support local people in real need and I hope others will follow suit.”