Over 65's turning the heating down to save money during the winter
The first freezing weather of the winter arrived in Somerset this week, bringing long cold nights and frosty mornings. The dramatic change in the forecast came just as a survey carried out by Compare the Market and Friends of the Elderly found that 3 in 5 over 65’s will restrict their heating this winter to save money on bills, while others start to dip into savings or food money to keep warm.
Headlines such as these come as no surprise to the team here at SCF, as we hear stories every winter from elderly and sometimes isolated residents who cannot heat their homes properly during the winter months. As you may know, we run an annual ‘Surviving Winter’ appeal, encouraging people who do not need their Winter Fuel Payment each year to donate it. The money raised is then ‘recycled’ and given out in grants to help hundreds of elderly Somerset residents who are suffering from fuel poverty.
This winter’s Surviving Winter appeal has already raised nearly £60,000 towards a target of £100,000 and grants are being given out to people in need as you read this. The amazing support from across Somerset has helped pay for heating oil, buy warm blankets or fill cupboards with filling food in the homes of people who otherwise faced a stark and undignified start to 2016. More donations are desperately needed to meet the demand for grants which are being dealt with by our charity partners every day.
Somerset Community Foundation’s Chief Executive Justin Sargent said “The results of this survey show clearly the struggle many older people across the UK face during winter, but fuel poverty and cold homes can be a particular problem in rural counties such as Somerset. Many of our over 65’s are trying to heat old rural properties which are notoriously hard to keep warm, and face dire health consequences as a result. We hope people realise that by donating their Winter Fuel Payment to Surviving Winter, they are helping the elderly in their communities stay warm and healthy.”To join the many others who have ‘recycled’ their Winter Fuel Payment, you can donate via the Surviving Winter page on our website here or by sending a cheque to their office at Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN