Imagine it’s freezing outside and being unable to heat your home. That is the harsh reality for many people across Cumbria.
Cold weather is a prime cause of over 300 preventable deaths in Cumbria a year – often worsened by living in older or isolated rural homes. In our worst winters, this figure has risen to 500.
The Winter Warmth Appeal, run by Cumbria Community Foundation, ensures vulnerable older people, who often choose between heating and eating, can heat their homes and remain safe and well during the colder months.
Last year, more than 1,000 older Cumbrians were helped to stay warm and well through the cold winter months, thanks to the generosity of local people who donated over £150,000 to the Winter Warmth Appeal.
Cumbria Community Foundation works in partnership with Age UK across Cumbria to reach the most vulnerable people in our county. Of the 500 grants awarded to households so far this winter, half live alone and due to increased demand, the Foundation is desperately in need of urgent funds to support more older people, as soon as possible.
Older people are more likely to live in poorly insulated, cold homes and become seriously ill or even die during the winter. To keep warm, they must turn their heating up, but with a sharp hike in energy prices, many pensioners cannot afford to do so. Many suffer in silence during the coldest months, often hidden from view.
Hannah Kitching, Age UK South Lakeland, said: “The Winter Warmth Fund can be a lifesaver for hundreds of older people in South Lakeland each year. A cold home can be a real danger for many of our vulnerable clients. The extra money provided by the Winter Warmth Appeal means that older people no longer must choose between eating and remaining warm during the winter months. This is often the sad reality that leads to many avoidable hospital admissions.”
A 74-year-old from Milnthorpe is now able to turn his heating on for the first time this winter: “The grant has made such a difference to me. I have been financially unable to turn my heating on in months but receiving this grant has meant that for the first time in a long time, I can actually feel warm at home. Instantly this makes me feel happier and healthier. Thank you.”
Jane Mindar, Age UK West Cumbria, said: “Around one in three people supported this year have never received the grant. This has been achieved by holding drop-in sessions in a variety of different locations, which are more accessible to isolated communities. We have also provided grants to people who use off grid fuel sources such as oil and coal and find it difficult to heat their homes. Many people we support have long-term health conditions, which means that they need to heat their homes well to stay healthier, so the impact on their health is significant and may help prevent hospital admissions or GP interventions.”
One in eight households in Cumbria live in fuel poverty. This year, several businesses and charitable trusts have pledged £57,000 to match any donations given, so that more money will be available to prevent older people having to choose between heating and eating. Any money donated up until Monday 11th December (or until the £57,000 match funding runs out) to the Winter Warmth Appeal will be automatically doubled thanks to generous match funding from: EDF Renewables, Sellafield Ltd, John Laing Charitable Trust, WCF Ltd, The Hadfield Trust, the Johnson Fund and the Roselands Trust.
EDF Renewables Director of Operations, Don Mackay, said: “This is a very good cause – one that will make an impactful difference to those who need it most. Winter is a tough time and can make things very miserable if you have to make choices between cooking hot food or keeping yourself warm. I’m very pleased that we are able to support this campaign.”
Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services and Communications Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “During the last ten years, the Winter Warmth Appeal has raised £1,000,000 – we know Cumbrians are well known for their community spirit. We are calling on their warm generosity again to help us raise even more money this year by doubling their donation during our match funding challenge week. The match funders have pledged a total of £57,000 to the ‘Winter Warmth Match Funding Challenge’ meaning that donations made during that time will be worth £114,000.”
To donate online, click here. You can also send a cheque payable to ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ (write Winter Warmth on the back) and post to Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN or call 01900 825760 Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm.
Community projects across the county have received a share of more than £360,000 to tackle issues such as unemployment, bullying, financial exclusion and health and wellbeing.
A total of 39 charitable organisations received a share of the funds at Cumbria Community Foundation’s recent grants panel. The funding will support a wide range of projects across the county, including Appleby Heritage Centre, Carer Support South Lakes and Safety Net (UK).
18 people have also received a share of almost £12,000 towards educational and training related costs, as well as victims of domestic violence receiving support from the Cumbria Victims Charitable Trust.
The money came from grant making funds, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, including those set up by Cumberland Building Society, Russell Armer and Westmorland Ltd.
Appleby Heritage and Training Centre received a two-year grant of £20,000 from the Westmorland Family Community Fund to provide vocational courses for young people. The centre has recently become an approved provider for apprenticeships and delivers engineering, motor vehicle and business admin apprenticeships with levy funded employers.
Centre Manager, Mandy Morland, said: “We had a demand for local school leavers to access their full-time education through the centre, which we can now provide thanks to the funding and ensure young people fulfil their further education choices. We also wanted to expand our offering to students in Year 10 to access vocational courses out of school and this will now allow us to do that. Our facilities are well equipped. Students benefit from small class sizes and the unique setting of converted railway carriages adds to the inviting experience.”
Safety Net (UK) received £4,000 from the Brian & Ann Clark Fund and £1,000 Abbeyfield Carlisle Society Over 55 Community First Fund. This money will allow the charity to run peer support groups specifically for men who have experienced the trauma of rape, sexual assault or child sexual abuse.
The monthly, three-hour sessions will help reduce isolation that has arisen due to trauma, increase confidence and self-esteem and improve mental health impacting on overall health and wellbeing. A range of activities will be on offer and the group sessions will discuss issues such as forgiveness, psychosexual difficulties, anger and shame, coping strategies for mental health difficulties, mindfulness and meditation.
Lesley Story, Chief Officer, said: “We know older men struggle to ask for help and support, many of them have kept the trauma they experienced through abuse buried for decades and this project seeks to offer peer support.”
One man who used the new service said: “I felt ashamed and alone, I have had a lifetime of struggle. I struggled to hold a job, to keep a relationship and I was drinking heavily. Coming to the group released my pain, I know I am not alone, it wasn’t about me, it was about what happened to me. I want to help other men see this and feel this. The pain doesn’t dissolve immediately, you learn ways to cope with it.”
£1,000 from the Johnson Fund will support the Carer Life Skills Programme run by Carer Support South Lakes. The programme has three themes: teaching practical skills such as household tasks, managing finances, for example budgeting, sorting insurance, and a lasting power of attorney and ‘end of life care’ including the practicalities of organising a funeral and applying for probate.
Mike Seaton, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to have received a grant towards a new life skills programme for adult carers. The aim is to help carers manage the ‘here and now’ as well as preparing for life after caring, ensuring things are in place before they are needed.”
Ellen Clements, Grants & Donor Services Officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “There are many worthy organisations around the county that hold communities together and continue to support the needs of local people. We are ever grateful to the generosity of our fundholders to enable us to support these vital services, especially during times when local services are under pressure and struggling to meet local needs.”
The closing date for Cumbria Community Foundation’s next closing date for the main grants panel is 20th December 2019 with the panel on 21st January 2020.
Mountain Warehouse, the UK’s largest outdoor retailer, has chosen Cumbria Community Foundation to be its regional charity partner for the Lake District and Cumbria.
Mountain Warehouse launched the charity bag campaign last year, which was rolled out to all their 250+ stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland. The campaign offers local charities, nominated by staff in each branch, financial support through the sale of specially designed canvas bags in their local stores.
100% of the profits from each of the £1.99 bags is donated to local charities. By teaming up with local charities, customers purchasing a bag donate to a cause close to them, therefore giving back to the local community.
Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We hugely value our relationship with local businesses and are delighted to be benefiting from the sale of the Mountain Warehouse charity bags. This is a fantastic story of corporate social responsibility and the importance of business giving back to the community in which it operates.”
Mountain Warehouse founder, Mark Neale, said: “At Mountain Warehouse we are passionate about supporting the local communities our stores are a part of. Each of our stores receives fantastic support from their local customers, and we are thrilled to be launching a collection which will be giving something back to so many good causes.”
Wigton-based CCL Secure, the global expert in polymer banknote substrate, has launched a new charitable fund that benefits people and communities in Allerdale and Copeland.
Managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, the CCL Secure Fund will provide grants to small voluntary and community groups helping people facing disadvantage across West Cumbria.
Mark Lancaster, HR Manager-EMEAC, said: “CCL Secure is committed to supporting the long-term sustainability of the local community, and to that end we are delighted to have entered into a partnership with Cumbria Community Foundation to help us achieve this goal.
“The company is committed to supporting ideas and initiatives which will enhance the lives of local people within the community, and we are focussed on supporting a broad range of projects which will have an impact and ensure a positive legacy within the community.
“We are looking forward to building a long and successful partnership with the Community Foundation and ultimately benefiting the lives of people in Cumbria.”
Cumbria Community Foundation raises funds through donations given by individuals, families, businesses and charitable trusts to support smaller charities and voluntary groups within communities across the county.
Jenny Benson, Philanthropy Officer, said: “We are delighted to be working with Mark and the CCL Team, who like many Cumbrian businesses are committed to finding ways to help their community. We know that small and local charities and voluntary organisations are the glue that holds communities together and Cumbria is unique in that it has a higher than average number of people who donate their time. But we also know that local services are under pressure and struggling to meet local needs.”
For more information about the fund or to apply, visit www.cumbriafoundation.org/fund/ccl-secure-fund or call Annalee Holliday at Cumbria Community Foundation on 01900 825760.
One man’s bright idea has helped to raise £1 million to keep older people warm.
A decade ago, a retired auctioneer talked to the chief executive of Cumbria Community Foundation about creating a ‘Winter Warmth’ fund.
Myles Walker, now 81, explains: “It is remarkable how a twinge of conscience can give birth to a now ten-year-old millionaire! In those days, I delivered medicines for the local surgery to people stuck at home. One such patient, living in a small cottage, spent day and night in one room which had a fire with a back-boiler. She could not afford electricity for heating and seldom cooked. I told Andy Beeforth of my ambition to form a fund to help the many other elderly people in similar circumstances. He and his wonderful team formed The Winter Warmth Appeal, to which I recommend anyone who does not really need the government winter warmth payment to donate it – preferably with Gift Aid.”
Since the appeal was launched, thousands of older Cumbrians have been given a grant of between £150 and £250 to keep their homes warm in the winter.
And this year, several businesses and charitable trusts have pledged to match any donations given, so that more money will be available to prevent older people having to choose between heating and eating.
Any money donated between Monday 11th November and Monday 11th December to the Winter Warmth Appeal will be automatically doubled thanks to generous match funding from: EDF Renewables, Sellafield Ltd, John Laing Charitable Trust, WCF Ltd, The Hadfield Trust, The Johnson Fund and The Roselands Trust. The match funders have pledged a total of £57,000 to the ‘Winter Warmth Match Funding Challenge’ meaning that donations made during that time will be worth £114,000.
The Winter Warmth Appeal collects people’s warm generosity and gives it back out to vulnerable older people to ensure they can heat their homes properly and remain safe and well during the colder months.
90 year old Alan from Windermere said: “It made an awful lot of difference. I am able to keep my heating on and my house is nice and warm.”
Edward, 89, from Ulverston, said: “Our boiler broke last winter and we needed a new one. The winter warmth grant helped us with the diabolical cost of fuel which goes up and up each year. My wife and I are on a limited income and we need to keep warm at our age.”
73 year old John from Penrith has been in a wheelchair for 18 years after he had a stroke. He said: “It’s helped with my electric and gas bills. I am very cold when I get home and need to warm up. It’s handy to have the winter warmth grant.”
Ann and her husband live in Brampton, they’re both 81, she said: “It makes a huge difference paying our gas and electric bills.”
67 year old Linda from Distington, said: “It’s wonderful, we don’t have to think quite as much about putting the heating on. Last year they took the gas fire out and put an electric one in, which is much more expensive to run, but we’re tenants so we can’t choose what we have, We both get stuck in the house quite a lot for health reasons, so the money means we keep warm.”
Dennis, 86 from Barrow, said: “I live on my own and everything is difficult. The winter warmth grant makes a lot of difference; it goes towards my gas bill.
Cumbria Community Foundation works in partnership with Age UK in Cumbria to reach the most vulnerable people in our county. Alison Ambrose, Chief executive officer of Age UK Carlisle and Eden, said: “The Winter Warmth Fund, generated by Cumbria Community Foundation, plays a vital part in supporting vulnerable older people across Cumbria and helps to alleviate some of the winter pressures attributed to fuel poverty.”
One in eight households in Cumbria are said to be living in fuel poverty, it is one of the hidden issues in this rural county which greatly affects the health and wellbeing of those who cannot heat their homes.
Older people are more likely to live in poorly insulated, cold homes and to become seriously ill or even die during the winter. To keep warm, they must turn their heating up, but with a sharp increase in energy prices, many pensioners cannot afford to do so. Many suffer in silence during the coldest months, often hidden from view.
In a bad winter, an extra 300 older people in our county will lose their lives to the effects of plummeting temperatures. In our worst winters, this figure has risen to more than 500 excess winter deaths.
Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation said: “We’re celebrating 20 years of grant making this year and what better way to see what a difference Cumbrians make by helping fellow Cumbrians. Many of our grant giving funds start with one person’s desire to make the world a better place. I will be ever grateful to Myles for his idea and generous support of the Winter Warmth Fund. We’re hoping to raise at least £150,000 this winter to continue keeping our older people warm and safe.”
Online www.cumbriafoundation.org/winter-warmth-fund or www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/winter-warmth-appeal
Cheque payable to ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ (write Winter Warmth on the back) and post to Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN.
Phone call 01900 825760 Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm.
Photos courtesy: Paul Grindley.