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Surviving Winter Appeal: Couple on why they’re donating their winter fuel payment

Stuart and Brenda Evans are hoping to spread some warmth this year by donating their winter fuel payments to charity.

Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF) and the Cambridge Independent are campaigning to raise £20,000 with the Surviving Winter Appeal.

Stuart and Brenda Evans
Stuart and Brenda Evans

Together, the foundation and the Cambridge Independent are appealing to those who are in a position to help to donate what they can.

They are particularly to people over the age of 66, who are receiving a non-means-tested Winter Fuel Payment, but do not need it, to consider donating the equivalent or part equivalent to the appeal.

Stuart and Brenda, who are long-term supporters of the foundation, have seen first-hand the difference their donation can make.

“We know that our donations will be spent carefully and wisely. It’s good to know they make a real difference to local people who most need support,” said Stuart.

The Winter Fuel Payment is issued by the government to everyone over 66 to help towards heating bills.

The annual, tax-free payment of between £250 and £600, is not means-tested and so is paid to everyone who is eligible, regardless of their financial situation.

Stuart explained: “Even though Cambridge and its surrounding area is relatively affluent, there are heartbreaking disparities between the most affluent and least affluent areas. In recent years, the cost of living has put families under even more stress, of which the spike in energy prices is just the latest example.”

One in seven UK adults say they won’t be able to put the heating on as much as they need this December, according to latest findings by National Debtline, which were published on Tuesday (December 5).

The foundation will work with partnering charities in Cambridgeshire to distribute the funds raised during the campaign by making direct payments towards energy costs, like topping up prepayment meters, financing upcoming gas and electricity costs, or paying for heating oil deliveries.

Brenda added: “For a long time, we lived in a big Victorian house that was lovely but poorly insulated and very draughty. So, when we retired and downsized, we made sure that our new home was well insulated, energy efficient and toasty warm. After all, no-one wants to live in a cold home. It’s not healthy, regardless of whether you are young or old.

The Cambridge Independent is supporting Cambridgeshire Community Foundation
The Cambridge Independent is supporting Cambridgeshire Community Foundation

“When the government introduced the Winter Fuel Payment, we thought ‘how lovely, but we don’t really need this’. It made sense to donate it to the foundation’s Surviving Winter Appeal to help those who really need additional support to keep their house warm.

“The money comes into our account from the government, and it goes straight out again in the form of a donation to the foundation’s appeal.”

People who need help to stay warm and afford energy this winter can seek support from the Surviving Winter Appeal’s charity partners, who will be distributing the raised funds by making direct payments relating to energy costs.

The partner organisations include Cambridge Aid, CHS Group, Cambridge City Foodbank, Citizens Advice Cambridge & District, Citizens Advice Rural Cambs and Citizens Advice Peterborough.

To support the appeal, visit justgiving.com/campaign/survivingwinter2023.

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