Older people around the county are a bit warmer thanks to Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Fund.
The charity has received £34,000 in donations towards its ambitious target of raising £100,000 to keep Cumbria warm this winter.
And, due to the early success of the appeal, the money has already been sent to the most vulnerable pensioners to keep their home fires burning as the temperatures fall.
Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “It’s so nice to be able to distribute the fund this early in the winter. We know that the Winter Warmth Fund has saved lives over the Christmas period in the past and hope this year we keep some of our most vulnerable elderly people safe and warm. But, having given out the first grants, we need to keep the money coming in to hit our target. If you’re considering donating to charity rather than sending cards of giving gifts this Christmas, there are hundreds of people you can help keep warm.”
In Carlisle, a 72 year old woman who has just received her grant, said: “I am really grateful, I wake up each morning at 6am and take my breakfast back to bed so I can keep warm. If I am going out, I am up and about by 7am and if not, I stay in bed until 8.30am. I try not to put the central heating on and save it until night-time, usually about 5pm and then I head off to bed at 9pm. I can’t sit in the cold, so I’d rather be warm in bed with my blankets and a book. The Winter Warmth Fund helps me an awful lot. I don’t worry as much about putting the heating on.”
Meanwhile in West Cumbria, a 73 year old woman who is recovering from a major heart operation, said: “The Winter Warmth Fund is fantastic. It means I can keep the house warm a bit longer, I don’t have to knock the heating off as much. I can’t move about and I’m quite breathless, so I keep all the doors and windows closed. I really need the help because my bills keep going up and up.”
Anyone can donate to the Winter Warmth Fund. It began as an appeal four years ago to enable people who received the Government’s Winter Fuel Payment – but didn’t feel they needed it – to give it to someone who did. Now the appeal is open to all.
By cheque: made payable to ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ (write ‘Winter Warmth Fund’ on the back) and post it to – Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 OPN.
Mobile: send a text message to 70070 including the code WINT37. You can donate £2, £5 or £10. Eg. WINT £5 to 70070.
Anyone who fancies a challenge could sign up to take part in THE BIG SLEEP on Saturday 15 February 2014. It’s a sponsored outdoor adventure where participants will sleep out under the stars in February (when temperatures may get as low as minus 11 degrees Celsius). It’s taking place beside the Low Wood Hotel in Windermere and there’ll be an outdoor cinema showing a film to take your mind off the cold. To find out more visit:
www.cumbriafoundation.org/big sleep or ring Daniel Rhodes on 01900 825760.
All of the money raised from the Winter Warmth Fund will be used to provide support to elderly people who are suffering because of fuel poverty. It will be directed to those most in need through voluntary and community groups in Cumbria who are supporting vulnerable older people.
It will help older people afford to stay warm, eat well and remain mobile. It will ensure they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to, help them to access grants to improve home insulation or replace old heating systems and show them how to shop around for the best fuel rate. It will also help provide information on how to stay healthy, like getting the flu jab and staying active. And where to get extra support in local communities, such as through lunch clubs and befriending schemes.