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Community Foundation’s annual Winter Warmth Appeal making a real difference to elderly

Older people living in fuel poverty are relieved at being able to have their heating on in the colder weather after receiving a Winter Warmth grant.

The grants of up to £250 come from Cumbria Community Foundation’s annual fundraising appeal, set up in response to the average 300 cold-related deaths each year in the county among older people who are unable to heat their homes properly.

So far this year the appeal has raised more than £135,000 thanks to donations which were matched by WCF Ltd, the John Laing Charitable Trust, Roselands Trust, The Johnson Fund, Brian and Ann Clark Fund, the Harvey Family Fund and a private donor.

The Foundation is still asking for much needed donations. Last year, the appeal raised over £200,000 and helped more than 1,500 Cumbrians pay fuel bills.

The Community Foundation works with partners Age UK and Copeland Age & Advice Service (CAAS), who distribute the grants as well as provide advice and guidance to people in fuel poverty.

One of the biggest problems facing many older adults, especially those living on their own, is not staying warm enough in their homes. When temperatures fall below 8°C, older people can be vulnerable and susceptible to an increased risk of becoming ill and developing pneumonia and in extreme, serious cases of low temperatures – hypothermia.

Lesley Amor, Finance Director and Customer Support Officer at CAAS, said: “Every day we receive calls from older people who may be living on their own and who are in desperate need for help and support.

“Many of our clients need financial support and we are delighted to be working with Cumbria Community Foundation to be able to offer the one-off grants to older people. These are extremely helpful and make a real difference to a person’s daily life and wellbeing over the cold winter.”

One beneficiary is 102-year-old veteran, Thomas Hodgson, from West Cumbria.

Thomas fought for his country during World War II and he is still full of determination, hoping to be the oldest person to do a parachute jump at the age of 103 next year, after already completing one on his 100th birthday. Thomas joined the territorial army in 1937 and was assigned to the fifth battalion border regiment. He joined the Royal Engineers in 1940 at the age of 20 as he worked on the railways as a fireman. When the army asked for parachuting volunteers, he literally jumped at the chance and joined the 7th Parachute Battalion.

For many older people, the past two years have been very difficult with the added onset of the COVID pandemic and not being able to have family and friends around them.

Thomas remains positive and the team from CAAS are there when he needs help and advice. He is very thankful to have the support of a Winter Warmth grant to help him keep warm during the winter months.

Thomas said: “I have recently had an operation in hospital, and I am awaiting more appointments.

“I am always very happy to see the team at CAAS; they are very helpful and support me to remain safe and independent.”

When asked about the Winter Warmth grants he said: “It’s grand. I extra funding is very helpful and I must thank the people who look after me with the grant.”

Liz from Windermere was supported last year, and she found out that she could apply to the Winter Warmth Fund from Age UK, which works in partnership with Cumbria Community Foundation, making sure the money reaches those most in need.

The 80-year-old said: “It really made a difference, especially with being on benefits. I didn’t feel frightened of putting the heating on and I could put the radiators on in all rooms rather than just my lounge.”

Talking about the appeal, the Foundation’s Chief Executive, Andy Beeforth, said: “More than 120,000 Cumbrians receive the governments Winter Fuel Payment and to many it’s a lifeline but for those that don’t need it, we can pass the money on to someone who is finding winter difficult.”

“Our Winter Warmth Appeal is even more important this year with the rise in fuel prices. It allows us to help, support and make physical, noticeable and actual positive differences to many older people, their wellbeing and daily lives during the cold and lonely winter months.”

David, from Liverpool who visits the county regularly and who recently donated, said: “Those of us who get a warm welcome when we visit Cumbria should, if we can afford it, help residents of the county who may struggle to keep warm in winter.”

To donate online, visit https://cumbriafoundation.enthuse.com/cf/winter-warmth-appeal

Alternatively, cheques can be made payable to ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ (write Winter Warmth on the back) and post to Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN. Donations can also be made over the phone by calling 01900 825760 Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm.

NHS hospital discharge support fund to benefit Cumbria

Money from the NHS has been made available to support patients leaving hospital through its partnership with local charities.

The NHS Hospital Discharge Support Fund was set up by the NHS in north Cumbria and is held by Cumbria Community Foundation. It will provide financial support of up to £300,000 to the charitable and community sector to help people regain and maintain their independence at home and in the community once they are discharged from hospital.

Age UK West Cumbria, in partnership with Age UK Carlisle & Eden, has been awarded £176,942 to meet the current short-term need of patients leaving hospital with no support from family or friends.

The Well@Home project will provide four weeks of support, including transport, daily welfare calls, home checks, prescription collections, food, and basic supplies.

Jane Mindar, Chief Executive at Age UK West Cumbria, said: “By working together, we will be able to make a real difference to around 700 people between now and the end of March – by getting them home and safely settled into their homes rather than spending more time in hospital which can be quite distressing for people especially in the run up to Christmas. Additionally we can play a larger part in helping the already stretched NHS reduce its burden and free up beds for those who most need them. NHS staff have proven to be complete heroes during the pandemic, and it will be an honour to help them in a small way during winter to carry on saving lives and helping even more people.”

Further funding is available and grants of up to £30,000 will be considered (in exceptional circumstances a higher amount might be considered), which must be fully spent by March 31st next year. The funding aims to support voluntary and community sector interventions which promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the widest sense and for all ages.

Funding should achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • increased number of patients supported to return home
  • improved discharge experience from NHS and other community based clinical services
  • patients supported report a more informed knowledge of the discharge process and support available to them
  • people able to regain and remain independent in their home and community
  • reduce the number of delayed discharges
  • decreased readmission rates as patient and/or carer receive additional non-clinical support
  • third sector capacity increased to deliver and sustain low-level community-based support

Peter Rooney, Chief Operating Officer for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Making sure patients leave hospital in a well-supported and timely way as soon as their medical treatment is complete is vital for lots of reasons. We don’t want patients in hospital longer than they need to be, we need to ensure those in hospital are those who have the most acute need, and people should be back in their own familiar surroundings as soon as they are well enough.

“This is fantastic opportunity to strengthen those really valuable relationships between our health and care services and our third sector partners. Working together will really help both our people and our services here in north Cumbria.”

Sarah Farragher, Home First and System Flow Coordinator, said: “We are delighted about this opportunity to work closely with partners to support people to return home from hospital, and enable people to live their most independent lives.  We really want to encourage our third sector groups to think about new and innovative bids to this fund so we can support more people across north Cumbria.”

Dr Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes & Partnerships Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “As a Community Foundation, we are delighted to be able to support this funding to reach where it is most needed. By supporting valuable NHS and community projects, the fund will ease some of the strain on the NHS.

To find out more about the Fund or to apply, visit www.cumbriafoundation.org/fund/nhs-hospital-discharge-support-fund or call 01900 825760.

Take a positive step this Black Friday with MyCumbria and the Cumbria Community Foundation

Cumbrian residents are being encouraged to take a less consumerist approach this Black Friday, with the countywide MyCumbria discount card now donating a proportion of each sale to the Cumbria Community Foundation.

The event, an American import of the last shopping day after the Thanksgiving holiday, has become more and more commercialised in recent years, however recent events have highlighted to many the importance of creating memories with friends and family rather than buying the latest items. Alongside the donation to the Foundation, a MyCumbria card is far from a single-use item, rather opening up experiences right across the county for a full year.

Cumbria Tourism Managing Director Gill Haigh says “One thing we’ve all discovered over the course of the pandemic is the importance of spending time with friends and family, especially those we’ve been unable to see due to recent travel restrictions. Memories last so much longer and with a MyCumbria card you’re not just giving a loved one a one off present, you’re gifting them 12 months of adventure.

“I’m also delighted a percentage of every card sold will go straight to our Strategic Partners the Cumbria Community Foundation. This charity does so much for the people of Cumbria, supporting youth groups, carers, the arts, environmental schemes, homelessness and more right across the county. After everything Cumbria’s been through recently we all know someone in need of a little extra support and the Foundation is doing a fantastic job at a very difficult time.”

Cumbria Community Foundation’s Chief Executive Andy Beeforth says: “Being a Strategic Partner with Cumbria Tourism is the right thing for the Community Foundation to do. Tourism is a vital part of the Cumbrian economy supporting jobs and the leisure, arts and cultural sectors of the county.  We’re stronger together and I look forward to working in partnership with Cumbria Tourism in support of the people of Cumbria. One important example is the opportunity to make use of the proceeds from the MyCumbria Card. The funds raised by the MyCumbria Card will help the Foundation help charities throughout the county. The MyCumbria card is an important way in which we can all help support local communities here in our county.”

Whatever interests your loved ones, a MyCumbria card can help inspire them to explore their doorstep in 2022 and make memories with friends and family. With discounts on a huge range of experiences, from indulgent afternoon teas at top-quality establishments (including Rothay Manor Hotel, Ambleside (25% off) to family days out at favourites such as Lowther Castle (two for one admission), Holker Hall (two for one admission) and the South Lakes Safari Zoo (50% off both day admission and annual passes), they’ll be able to enjoy low-cost days out across Cumbria. Also, with many looking to get outdoors again there are many ways to save, including 10% off all activities with Graythwaite Adventure and 10% off at The Forge, Staveley-based outdoor brand Inov-8’s brand new store.

MyCumbria cards are available to anyone who lives or works in the county at the special price of just £15 on ‘Charity Friday’ (26th November 2021). To use this offer please use the discount code charityfriday when purchasing (does not apply to renewals). Gift options are also available.

View the full list of current offers and buy your card at www.mycumbriacard.co.uk.

Public encouraged to watch live stream of Zero Carbon event

The public is being invited to a free event that will discuss the outcomes of COP26 and how our county can “rise to the challenge” of reducing carbon emissions to net-zero.

‘Carbon Zero in Cumbria and the Lake District’ is hosted by Cumbria Community Foundation’s Cumbria Club as part of its Cumbria Voices campaign in partnership with Armstrong Watson.

The live stream event begins at 6pm on Tuesday 16th November and although in-person tickets are sold out, the public is still being encouraged to join the live stream.

Viewers and the audience at Rheged in Penrith will hear presentations from author Mike Berners-Lee, Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park Richard Leafe, Simon Carr of University of Cumbria and Karen Mitchell of Cumbria Action for Sustainability.

The distinguished panellists will discuss the outcomes of COP26 and how as a county, we can all rise to the challenge of climate change.

Andy Beeforth, CEO of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We’re committed to supporting eco-friendly Cumbrian projects for the long term and through our grant making, we’re keen to work with local people and businesses who want to make a difference in reducing the carbon footprint in the county.”

The Cumbria Club is hosting the event with Cumbria Community Foundation, Armstrong Watson, Rheged and the University of Cumbria.

To register for the live stream, click here.

Winter Warmth Appeal launches to support older people in Cumbria this winter

With the rise of fuel prices and the looming flu season, generous Cumbrians are being asked to help local vulnerable older people keep warm and well this winter.

To launch this year’s Winter Warmth Appeal, run by Cumbria Community Foundation, some of Cumbria’s most senior figures in business swapped a warm, comfortable bed for Honister Slate Mine to highlight the ongoing struggle many elderly Cumbrians face to keep warm every night. The annual appeal makes sure that older people who may have to choose between heating and eating, can stay warm and well throughout the colder months.

Sue, Sarah, Andy, Richard, David and Mark
Sue, Sarah, Andy, Richard, David and Mark

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation spent a night shivering alongside David Beeby, the High Sheriff of Cumbria, Soo Redshaw, Business Coach and Charity Trustee, Sarah Dunning, Chair of Westmorland, Richard Rankin, Chief Executive, H&H Group plc and Mark Cant, Co-Founder and Sales Director, The Cumbrian Tea and Cumbrian Coffee Co Ltd.

Cumbria Community Foundation is the leading independent grant-making charity in the county and its annual Winter Warmth Appeal has raised more than £1.3 million since 2010 in a bid to protect some of the most vulnerable members of communities.

Mark Cant, Co-Founder and Sales Director, The Cumbrian Tea and Cumbrian Coffee Co Ltd said: “Tonight I’m feeling a bit like a non-celebrity going into the jungle on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here with the Cumbrian business royalty, I’m honoured to have been invited to undertake such an important event with Cumbria Community Foundation for a very worthwhile cause. 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.”

One in ten households in Cumbria currently live in fuel poverty, meaning that they spend more than 10 percent of their income on fuel. In most winters, 300 older Cumbrians die because of problems associated with not being able to heat their homes or eat properly. In worse winters, the figure has risen to 500.

David Beeby, the High Sheriff of Cumbria said: “I am delighted to be a part of highlighting the need for the Winter Warmth Appeal. The origin of this appeal was a generous donor who wanted to redistribute his winter fuel payment to those in real need. Sadly this year the need will be greater than ever.  Like him there will be many of us who receive the payment and who are fortunate enough not to need it. If you are in that position why not donate it to the Winter Warmth Appeal and double the value.”

This year, any donation made between Monday 15th November and midday Monday 13th December will be doubled thanks to the Foundation’s generous match fund pledgers WCF Ltd, the John Laing Charitable Trust, Roselands Trust, the Johnson Fund, Brian and Ann Clark Fund, the Harvey Family Fund and a private donor.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “Fuel poverty has always been an issue and each year, the Foundation steps up and raises funds for the most vulnerable in our communities who need help and support during the cold winter months.

“This year will see fuel prices increase and we will unfortunately see more people having to choose whether to heat their homes or cook a hot meal. When your income is fixed, as is the case for many retired, older people, rises in energy bills can quickly become unaffordable, and the only choice left in the worst cases is to endure a cold home.

“We are pleading with those who can, to give generously to our Winter Warmth Appeal so we can make sure the funds reach people in need this winter.”

This year, any donation made between Monday 15th November and midday Monday 13th December will be doubled thanks to the Foundation’s generous match fund pledgers WCF Ltd, the John Laing Charitable Trust, Roselands Trust, the Johnson Fund, Brian and Ann Clark Fund, the Harvey Family Fund and a private donor.

Last year, more than a thousand Cumbrians were helped to keep warm, after Cumbrians donated over £200,000 to the appeal.

Donations help people like Dorothy 83, from Carlisle. She said: “I am very grateful for the grant as it allowed me to heat my home when it was cold. It also made things easier for me as I was struggling financially, due to splitting up with my partner and I have multiple health problems. For people like me, this money makes a big difference to our standard of living.”

Joyce, 80 from Seascale, said: “I was so worried about heating costs with winter approaching as my health has been so poor and I was considering taking out a loan; I now feel so relieved to know that my heating costs are covered.”

Liz from Windermere found out that she could apply to the Winter Warmth Fund from Age UK, which works in partnership with Cumbria Community Foundation, making sure the money reaches those most in need.

The 80 year old said: “It really made a difference, especially with being on benefits. I didn’t feel frightened of putting the heating on and I could put the radiators on in all rooms rather than just my lounge.”

Hannah Kitching, Client Services Manager at Age UK South Lakeland, said: “For a high proportion of our clients, receiving the grant has made the vital difference between remaining warm and well at home during the winter months or being admitted to hospital, or worse. As many older people are only just managing to get by financially, the slightest rise in their outgoings pushes them in to fuel poverty, and many have to make the heartbreaking decision between eating or keeping warm. This is not sustainable and leads to a rise in preventable hospital admissions – a very vicious circle. If you find yourself in a more favourable position, we urge you to donate to the Winter Warmth Fund this year; the difference it makes is simply remarkable.”

To donate online, visit https://cumbriafoundation.enthuse.com/cf/winter-warmth-appeal.

Alternatively, cheques can be made payable to ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ (write Winter Warmth on the back) and post to Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN. Donations can also be made over the phone by calling 01900 825760 Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm.

Charity Today –  Winter Warmth Appeal launches to support older people in Cumbria this winter

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