Vulnerable older people living in fear of the bleak winter ahead
PUBLISHED: 19:21 20 November 2019
Explaining just how dire winter can be, Pat, an older woman who uses the Gatehouse Dementia Hub in Bury St Edmunds, said: "People don't put their heating on for fear of not being able to pay bills, some I know live in just one room, it's terrible."
Pat was speaking out to raise awareness of the Surviving Winter and Winter Crisis campaigns, launched last week by the Suffolk Community Foundation.
Pat added: "I would urge anyone who is considering donating to this appeal to do so - our elderly are a forgotten generation who need looking after because they are so vulnerable."
The campaign asks those receive a winter fuel allowance but can afford to comfortably heat their homes to consider donating it to those less fortunate. People of all ages support the campaign each year, donating whatever they can.
"I would encourage anyone who receives a Winter Fuel Payment who doesn't need it to donate it to someone in Suffolk that does," said Pat.
The annual Surviving Winter campaign aims to support older people living in fuel poverty and this year the foundation has also introduced the Winter Crisis appeal to ensure vulnerable people of all ages are warm and fed this winter,
Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive at Gatehouse Caring which runs the dementia hub and a foodbank, said: "We work really hard to ensure that those most vulnerable are provided with the nutrition they need to stay healthy."
She added: "That's said, food is only one element.
"The companionship required to maintain good mental wellbeing is also hit very hard during the winter months as the world closes in on those less mobile."
Encouraging people to support the fundraising, Deidre, another of the service users at Gateway, said: "It's so important for people like me to stay warm in their homes during winter as we feel the cold so much more. Just putting another layer on or having a coat around your shoulders indoors isn't enough, you simply cannot get warm. It's important to be able heat your home and the appeal helps so many people in Suffolk to do this."
While Edmund added: "Being cold can make you feel really miserable. Fingers, toes and joints - they don't do their job as well as they should do.
"Go back 10 years and I wouldn't feel the cold at all."
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If you are able to give to either the Surviving Winter or Winter Crisis appeals, you can do so online here, by telephone on 01473 602602 or by going to any branch of Ipswich Building Society.
You can also post a cheque made payable to Suffolk Community Foundation, to The Old Barns, Peninsula Business Centre, Wherstead, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP9 2BB.
How much is the winter fuel allowance?
The Winter Fuel Allowance is a one-off payment made to cover the three months of winter.
The following people qualify:
■ Aged 65-80 and lives alone - £200, which equates to £15 a week or £66.60 a month
■ Aged 80+ and lives alone - £300, which equates to £23 a week or £100 a month
■ Aged 65-80 and lives with someone else aged 65-80 who also qualifies - £100, which equates to £7.60 a week or £33.30 a month
■ Aged 80+ and lives with someone else aged 65-80 who also qualifies - £200, which equates to £15 a week or £66.60 a month
■ Aged 80+ and lives with someone else aged 80+ who also qualifies - £150, which equates to £11.50 a week or £50 a month
■ Aged 65-80 and lives in a care home, not getting certain benefits - £100, which equates to £7.60 a week or £33.30 a month
■ Aged 80+ and lives in a care home, not getting certain benefits - £150, which equates to £11.50 a week or £50 a month