Hundreds of older people need your help this winter

We aim to raise in excess of £100,000 every winter and help over 500 vulnerable older people in Somerset stay warm, safe and well.

To donate to the Surviving Winter campaign, please click on the Donate to Surviving Winter button below, which will take you to our donation page at the Charities Aid Foundation. Thank you.

Update on our response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and Surviving Winter funds

A portion of the donations to the 2019 Surviving Winter appeal will be used to provide funding for local charities and community groups providing support to older people in Somerset to stay safe and well in light of the impacts of coronavirus. More information about our response to coronavirus can be found here.


Surviving Winter grants are available for older people living in Somerset, who are unable to adequately heat their homes. Please contact the following groups for further information on applying for a Surviving Winter grant:

Community Council for Somerset

Citizen Advice South Somerset

Citizen Advice Mendip

Citizen Advice Taunton

Forum 21

Age UK


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 Donation 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 big red Donate to Surviving Winter button on this webpage
*We are very grateful to TelePA for their generous support this year. To find out why TelePA have chosen to support Surviving Winter, click here

A big thank you to all our donors who gave online during the Big Give Christmas Challenge and doubled their donation. We are absolutely delighted that we reached our £15,000 match funding target in just two days!

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 millions of pounds nationally and £700,000 in Somerset alone. Over 90,000 older people have received a Surviving Winter grant during this time.

Celebrity Endorsements 2019/20


Rt Revd Ruth Worsley Bishop of Taunton

“Pensioners who can’t afford to heat their homes are going to bed early, cutting back on food and are often living in one room simply so they can stay warm. Donating some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal will help support some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Please consider donating if you can.”





Michael Eavis, Founder of Glastonbury Festivals

"The Surviving Winter campaign appealed to me right from the start. If everyone who can afford it gave their Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal, hundreds of our pensioners across Somerset would have a more comfortable winter. 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

“Donating some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment to the Surviving Winter appeal is a simple and easy way to help some of the elderly in our community who are struggling to stay warm and healthy in winter. This small gesture will go a long way towards helping those who are most in need. Please consider giving to this great cause if you can.” 






Previous Celebrity Endorsements

West Countryman Les Davies

“It’s time to think about spreading a little warmth to help those who are vulnerable and in need. Can you help by sharing your Winter Fuel Payment with someone less fortunate, through the Surviving Winter campaign? Every little helps and goes to make someone else feel better this winter.”






The Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells

“Please think carefully about whether you need your Government Winter Fuel Payment this year. During the cold winter months many older people in Somerset are faced with a tough choice: fuel or food. A Surviving Winter Grant could prevent them having to decide between heating their home or being able to afford a decent meal. So please consider donating to this year’s Surviving Winter appeal if you can. Thank you so much.”






Robert Burns MBE of Burns the Bread

“I’m really pleased to be able to help others in our community this winter; it’s important to support local people in need. Giving to Surviving Winter makes so much sense. If you are able, please donate your Winter Fuel Payment to this worthwhile campaign.”




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.”



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."






Denise Robertson

“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.”

Rosemary Conley

“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.” 

Ann Widdecombe

“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.” 

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