Campaign to help old survive winter

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A HEARTFELT campaign has been fired up in a bid to help vulnerable residents of the Dispatch district survive the sub-zero winter temperatures that kill hundreds across the county every year.

The Nottinghamshire Community Foundation (NCF) has launched its Surviving Winter Appeal 2011.

It calls on those aged over 60 who are eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) — a handout of up to £300 designed to help pay heating bills — to donate the cash to the Foundation if they can afford to do so.

The money will then be used to support charities with a track record of looking after the old, vulnerable and the homeless.

The scheme has been endorsed by Hucknall’s former Labour MP, Paddy Tipping, who is a trustee of NCF.

He says the number of residents eligible for the WFP in Nottinghamshire is 228,000.

Mr Tipping commented: “We believe that if a small percentage feel they could donate their WFP, we would not only be able to help many older people literally survive the winter, but we would also be able to make sure hundreds of others who suffer in silence are equipped to cope with the very cold weather and get through the winter with dignity.

“We cannot quantify exactly the number of elderly people who are most at risk from cold weather.

“But we know at least one in seven households is occupied by a pensioner living on their own and at least one-third of households have someone with a long-term illness.

“The latest figures tell us that 26,400 pensioners in Nottingham city and 83,400 in Nottinghamshire county live in fuel poverty, so it is not difficult to see the scale of the challenge.”

The WFP is a universal payment of between £200 and £300 per household. It is made throughout November and December to everyone on the electoral role who is aged 60 and above.

To offer your support to the Surviving Winter Appeal, ring NCF on 01623 620202 or visit www.nottscf.org.uk/donate.