The Appeal, which is in its seventh year, initially started because shockingly high numbers of older vulnerable people were dying during the winter months. The latest stats available from the Office for National Statistics reveal that during the winter of 2014/15, 920 vulnerable people died in Dorset. Due rising fuel costs and social isolation amongst the elderly, more and more local older people cannot afford to adequately heat their homes thus risking their health and in some cases – even their lives.
Last year the Appeal raised nearly £25,000 helping 91 local households. Mr Y, who wishes to remain anonymous, is one of the local older people supported by the Appeal. He is a carer for his wife, who has been diagnosed with cancer several times over the last six years. She feels the cold more since her treatments. They are both of State Retirement Pension age and have a limited income. Receiving a Surviving Winter grant last year allowed them to pay the higher energy bills. This reduced the financial stress on them both; the worry about the expected energy bill was exacerbating her health issues.
Jon Yates, Chief Executive at the Foundation explained: ‘It is shocking that here in Dorset, hundreds of local older people die during the winter months, as they cannot afford to heat their homes. Our latest available information shows that almost three times the numbers are dying in Dorset due to the cold compared to our neighbours in Wiltshire. This fact is simply shocking, and it is why we need your help once again.’
To donate your winter fuel allowance, send a cheque made out to ‘Dorset Community Foundation’ to: DCF, The Spire, High Street, Poole, BH15 1DF. Alternatively, donate online by clicking here.
Online donations made between midday on 28th November and midday on 5th December will be doubled.
Surviving winter grants of up to £200 are available through Citizens Advice Bureaus across Dorset. Contact your nearest branch or ring 01929 775500.