The donations raised mostly by local residents who receive, but do not need winter their fuel allowance supported 91 local households via the Foundation’s partnership with the network of Citizens Advice Bureaus who dispersed the support in the form of grants.
Most of the beneficiaries are retired and are dealing with additional difficulties such as having a long-term illness, living in a hard to heat or a park home, or having a pre-payment meter which increases the cost of gas and electricity.
A caseworker from Poole Citizens Advice Bureau shared the story of one of the funded couples: ‘My client is a full-time carer for his wife, who has been diagnosed with cancer several times over the last six years. They are both of state retirement pension age and have a limited income. The cancer treatment has left his wife with life changing side effects and as she is quite fragile she must keep warm all the time. Receiving a one-off payment from the Surviving Winter Appeal has allowed them to pay the higher energy bills and not worry about the additional expenses during the winter months.’
Jon Yates, Chief Executive at the Foundation elaborated: ‘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. Currently, one in 10 households is in fuel poverty and in parts of the county that goes up to one in four. The Surviving Winter Appeal is a simple initiate which saves lives and we are very pleased that since launching the Appeal over six years ago we have raised and dispersed nearly £120,000 helping thousands of local older residents.’
The Appeal will re-open again in Novermber 2017.