Help vulnerable older Cumbrians keep warm this winter

18th December 2023

Money given to the Winter Warmth Appeal by this Friday, December 22, is set to be doubled thanks to the generosity of match funders.

Cumbria Community Foundation has run the Winter Warmth Appeal every winter since 2010, raising more than £2.5m to provide help with heating bills to some of the county’s most vulnerable older people.

Energy bills soared in 2022 and remain sky high, making this year’s appeal more vital than ever.

An estimated 300 to 500 older people in Cumbria die each winter because of problems related to not being able to heat their homes.

Jenny Benson, Director of Programmes and Partnerships at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We’ve extended the deadline for match funding donations until 5pm on December 22 to maximise the amount raised.

“Thanks to the generosity of our match funding champions, every £1 the public give will be doubled, so every person’s donation will really make double the difference.

“Our aim is to raise at least £500,000, so that we can support as many people as possible. Our delivery partners at Age UK tell us that people are being forced to choose whether they eat or heat their homes. It’s that desperate.”

Shirley Goodwin

Those to have benefited in previous years include Shirley Goodwin, 65, and her husband Paul, 64, of Walney in Barrow.

Shirley said: “The price of gas and electricity is going up all the time. We had cut back on heating because we were frightened of overspending. My husband was putting it on for just an hour in the evening. I have diabetes and high blood pressure so I do need to keep warm. This has made such a difference.”

Another beneficiary is Stewart Taberham, 75 of Morton Park in Carlisle.

Stewart Taberham

He said: “I’m waiting for an operation and I need the heating on 24/7 because of my health problems. That costs me £250 a month, which I can’t afford on a fixed income. This help has made a considerable difference.”

And Barbara Wilson, 78, of Egremont, said: “I have circulation problems so I need to keep warm. My great granddaughters bought me a pair of heated gloves. I was sitting in the cold wearing these and a coat. The help from the Winter Warmth Appeal means I can have the heating on.”

Barbara Wilson

Last year’s appeal awarded grants totalling £578,930, which helped 3,223 older people in Cumbria keep warm.

You can donate online using this link.

Alternatively, donate by phone calling 01900 825760 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, or send a cheque payable to Cumbria Community Foundation, with ‘Winter Warmth Fund’ on the back, to Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, CA13 0PN.

The Community Foundation’s match funding champions have pledged almost £200,000 to double the amount given by members of the public. They are: WCF Ltd, John Laing Charitable Trust, Cumberland Council, Nuclear Waste Services, Hadfield Trust, Rural Getaways Ltd, Furness Building Society, Lake District Estates,, Roselands Trust, the Johnson Fund, Brian and Ann Clark Fund, Harvey Family Fund and various private donors.