Don’t go cold this winter

There’s been a domino effect of announcements about increasing gas and electricity prices in the last few weeks. For many of us this will mean a squeeze on our household budgets but for some people it’s more serious, with going cold or hungry a real prospect.

A £100,000 grant from Norfolk County Council to Age UK Norfolk and the Norfolk Community Foundation will boost vulnerable older people across the county. Credit: Le Grace Studio

Fuel poverty is becoming an increasingly recognisable term.The good news is that there is help available. Norfolk Community Foundation and Age UK Norfolk’s Surviving Winter campaign is one such example. It targets its support, including financial assistance, at the county’s vulnerable older people – and Age UK Norfolk will explain more below.

We’ve also provided links to some of the other support and schemes that are available in Norfolk to help people stay warm this winter at the bottom of this blog post. Please add any others you’re aware of in the comments section.

Winter is usually the most difficult time of year for older people. At Age UK Norfolk a lot of our work over the coming months will be concentrated on making sure that Norfolk’s older people keep well and stay warm.But with another hike in the price of heating costs, it is becoming harder than ever for people trying to get by on a pension to keep warm.

Going cold isn’t just unpleasant and uncomfortable, it can lead to serious health problems. Some of Norfolk’s most vulnerable residents will even face the choice of heating properly or eating properly.

Our Surviving Winter campaign is designed to make sure that no elderly resident is ever in this position. The fund offers payments to older people to ease the burden of paying for fuel bills over the winter.

Over the last month or so we’ve distributed £14,000 to help people in need across the county and we’re receiving more and more requests every day. Last winter we gave out a total of £44,000 to more than 200 people, with all of this money coming from charitable donations, and we’re incredibly grateful for all of these, no matter how big or small.

 Earlier this week the fund got a huge boost when Norfolk County Council announced it would be donating £100,000 to the cause – fantastic news for us and for older people in Norfolk. It means we’ll be able to help hundreds more people survive the winter in good health.

We want to help people based on their individual circumstances, and so we haven’t got strict criteria on who is eligible and who isn’t. If you feel you or someone you know could really do with help from the Surviving Winter fund, please do get in touch with us. Even if you think you or your friend or relative may not be old enough or their situation may not be serious enough, please do pick up the phone – we may well be able to help.

The number to call to request support from the fund is 01603 787111. Our volunteers will be here to listen to your requests between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, or you can leave a message outside of these hours leaving your name and contact details, and we’ll get in touch as soon as we can.

We’d also love to hear from people who want to make a donation to the fund so we can help even more people. Click here for information on how you can do this.

It’s not just people of a certain age that can suffer from fuel poverty though. If you’re not old enough to benefit from the Surviving Winter campaign, then there are other ways you can get help keeping warm this winter.

The government’s Warm Front Scheme offers to pay for heating and insulation in the homes of vulnerable people across England and the Green Deal initiative, to be launched in January by the government, is a scheme designed to reduce utility bills if people pay for energy-saving improvements in their homes.

Norwich residents in need of fuel assistance can take advantage of Norwich’s Big Switch and Save initiative and if you’re just seeking advice on how to cut the cost of your gas and electricity bills or replace your boiler, the Energy Saving Trust offers help on how to be efficient with your energy.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t go cold this winter

  1. Norwich City Council can provide grants for boiler repairs, and loans for replacement boilers (for those which cannot be repaired) through it’s Care & Repair agency. This assistance is for home owners living in Norwich City Council District, in receipt of qualifying benefits. Contact Orbit Care & Repair on 01603 283337 for more details, or email norwichcare&repair@orbit.org.uk

  2. Please don’t take this as a criticism but its all very well and good helping people in fuel poverty but at least they get a winter fuel payment.I am disabled,have my daughter and 2 small granddaughters living with us and cannot afford to have the heating on.I did qualify for the £130 payment from the gov scheme but this is paid into my electricity account and therefore is no help towards gas heating.As the colder weather approaches it looks like more time sitting under blankets and bed at 7pm.

    • Sorry to hear about this Mrs Larn. The money that the partners have got from the Department of Health is paying for several different kinds of support for different types of situation, and not just for older people, so it might be that you and your family can get help.

      Would you consider giving the number in the blog post (0344 800 8020) a ring on Monday to see what’s available to you? Remember to mention ‘warm and well’ if you do call.

      Have a look at our blog post on the Surviving Winter fund too (called ‘Don’t go cold this winter’, you can link to it from the Surviving Winter appeal link in the blog post above), it may be that you could request support from that.

      Best of luck,

      Susie from Norfolk Winter

      • Sorry, just noticed your comment was on this blog post rather than our most recent one! If anything in my original reply isn’t clear because of this, let me know,

        Susie

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