Surviving Winter



Hundreds of older people in Somerset are forced to choose between heating and eating during the winter. The coronavirus outbreak means that, for many of our older neighbours, this winter will be even more difficult and worrying. Many will need to stay at home to keep themselves safe and will find themselves cut off from family and friends and facing higher costs to heat their homes.

With your help, we can help them stay warm, safe and well.

If you can afford to, please donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment to help support those living in fuel poverty.





Your donations will help us make sure around 500 vulnerable older people across Somerset have the support they need to get through the winter.

Your gift will help provide:






The Big Give Christmas Challenge

A big thank you to all our donors who gave online during the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020 and doubled their donation. We are absolutely delighted that we reached our £15,000 match funding target in just two days!

Maureen’s story

Maureen’s health has been gradually worsening and she and her husband have struggled to make ends meet. She told us how the Surviving Winter grant helped make sure she wouldn’t be in constant pain throughout the winter.

“I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about two years ago and my condition has gradually worsened since then. I’m a ‘I’ll get on with it, it’ll be alright’ kind of person normally, but I’m in constant pain and I’m progressively becoming slower.

With no income I felt so guilty that it was down to my husband to pay all the bills. I know he worries about how we’ll make ends meet.

The cold exacerbates the fibromyalgia, meaning it’s painful to move around – especially in the winter. But not moving around means that I seize up from the arthritis.

The extra support we received from the Surviving Winter grant gave me peace of mind and stopped the worry. I’m at home all the time, and without the grant I wouldn’t have been able to afford to have the heating on to keep me warm during the day.

I could see the relief on my husband’s face when we received the Surviving Winter grant. I’m so grateful, it made such a difference knowing that with that extra help we could afford to pay the winter heating bills.” 

How to donate

You can support the Surviving Winter appeal by:

  • making an online donation: it’s quick and easy to donate and add Gift Aid to your donation
  • calling us on 01749 344949 to make a telephone donation by credit or debit card
  • sending a cheque made payable to ‘Somerset Community Foundation’ with the reference SW on the back 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.

The difference you've made since 2010

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 heating their homes.

From this simple idea Surviving Winter has spread across the country, raising millions of pounds nationally and over £925,000 in Somerset alone*. Over 90,000 older people have received a Surviving Winter grant since the first appeal. 





Surviving Winter grants

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 Taunton

Forum 21

Health Connections Mendip

SSAFA Somerset

*correct as at Sept 2021

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