Community Foundation for Calderdale today launches its Surviving Winter 2013 appeal. The campaign, in its third year, is calling for people to donate their Winter Fuel Payment if they are able or whatever they can to help the elderly and vulnerable in the community this winter.
Last year, £1.2million was raised across the UK with 20,000 people benefiting. In Calderdale over £2500 was raised. These funds delivered a variety of different benefits including individual grants to aid the paying off energy debts, support for local organisations tasked with helping the elderly and vulnerable people as well as providing valuable funds to local food banks that experience a significant increase in demand in winter.
Community Foundation for Calderdale, CEO Steve Duncan said: “Surviving Winter is an important campaign that generates funds to help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and those most severely affected by fuel bill price hikes and the rise in the cost of living. Winter is hard on many of us, but for some it is truly a challenge to survive. We know that the need is greater and therefore we encourage people to give in order to help people in their local area.”
The latest data* from the Office for National Statistics shows that there were almost 24,000 excess winter deaths in people aged over 65 in 2011/12. Age UK** calculated that this was 193 daily excess winter deaths or 8 per hour. Set against this backdrop it is concerning that the Government has chosen to cut its Warm Homes, Healthy People funding, which has previously been a vital lifeline to the most vulnerable in our communities. This shortfall makes the work of Surviving Winter doubly important in ensuring no one struggles to survive this winter.
It is not just the elderly facing challenges at this time of year. The consequences of higher energy bills and increased cost of living are being felt by families across the UK. According to research*** by Barclays more than half (56%) of parents admitted that their family budget is in a worse state than summer 2012 while a third (34%) are struggling to cope with their finances being squeezed and stretched at the same time. One in five parents (19%) said that they did not feel in control of their finances while four in five (82%) concerned about what they will be able to afford in the next 12 months.
The difficult choices families are facing have resulted in increased demand on local food banks. Trussell Trust food bank figures**** show that 350,000 people received emergency food in the last year, the biggest rise in numbers since the Trust started in 2000. Research***** by Tesco shows that 18% of people in the UK have suffered some form of food poverty, this rises to 21% of households with children.
Steve Duncan continued: “There is significant need in our communities which is often overlooked. Thousands of elderly people and families are struggling with the sharp rise in living costs and utility bills leaving them facing big challenges this winter, and unsure of where to turn. No one should be left struggling and there is a responsibility on us all to come together and help when we can.”
“In the past couple of years we raised more than £2500 which went to a range of causes and organisations in Calderdale. This year, we want to achieve more and help more people than ever if you would like to donate please visit www.localgiving.com/CFFC (please add in the comments box surviving winter) or send a cheque made payable to Community Foundation for Calderdale, 1855 Building, (First Floor), Discovery Road, Halifax, HX12NG please mark the back of the cheque SW2013