We launch Surviving Winter appeal help your neighbours stay safe and warm

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Did you know that more than 850 frail and elderly people died last year in the West of England from causes related to the cold and poor living conditions? There is a way to help – we have started our annual Surviving Winter appeal in the hope of saving lives and spreading a little cheer this season.

Older people and those with long term conditions can be at risk during cold weather
Older people and those with long term conditions can be at risk during cold weather

As cold and wet weather sets in, older people all over the West of England are set to receive their Winter Fuel Payment from the government, but with rising fuel prices and many elderly people living in homes with poor energy efficiency, large numbers are still faced with a stark choice between heating and eating.

Thankfully, more people than ever are generously choosing to share all of part of their Winter Fuel Payment, and gifting it to our Surviving Winter Appeal, which we’ve been running for seven years and have raised £140,000 in that time.

Donate now, or read on to find out more

What happens to the donations?

The Surviving Winter campaign, run locally by Quartet Community Foundation, works with frontline charities across the West of England to support the most vulnerable people in our communities who are at risk during this time of year, and donations from ordinary people can make a big difference.

"I was getting in a pickle with my gas bills", Mrs Wilson, a resident with United Communities housing

“I was getting in a pickle with my electricity and gas bills”, said Mrs Wilson who lives in Easton in a housing association flat. Luckily for her, Mrs Wilson’s housing association United Communities were able to offer advice and help on reducing her costs, thanks to being awarded a Surviving Winter grant from Quartet. “It’s all sorted now”, she said, “and I’m paying less than I was.”

Winter is a time when older people can feel the most isolated and the majority of those at risk of serious harm in the winter are older people living in cold homes. There’s a strong relationship between poor insulation and heating of houses, low indoor temperature and preventable winter-related deaths of older people. And for every winter-related death, as many as eight people will be admitted to hospital with a serious health condition, and dozens more will visit their GP or simply suffer in silence.

For elderly residents like Mrs Wilson, help can come in many different forms, including vouchers to help towards heating costs and new warm clothes.

“The Surviving Winter grant funding from Quartet meant we could give vouchers to 103 of our older residents, to help them stay warm during the cold weather”, said Jayne Whittlestone, Communities Manager for United Communities. “We plan to bid for the funding again so we can help more residents stay warm this winter.”

Another scheme supported by our past appeals is the Community Oil Buying Scheme, co-ordinated by the West of England Rural Network (WERN), where elderly people living in isolated rural areas were able to join a community oil scheme and save hundreds of pounds on their oil-fired heating costs.

Residents using the scheme were full of praise, with one buyer saying “I tell everyone about the scheme – my last bill on my own was £600+ to fill my tank and most recent bill for same quantity was £280!”, and another beneficiary said “joining was the best thing we ever did.”

Thanks to the generosity of ordinary people, we’re able to support many organisations and charities, including United Communities and WERN, to put people’s donations to good use. Other groups funded in past years include Age UK, Care & Repair, Citizens’ Advice and Talking Money.

With warnings that energy prices may rise and falling temperatures, more people than ever are facing a tough winter ahead.

With your support – they won’t have to.

If you want to donate to the Surviving Winter appeal, you can donate online now and select ‘Surviving Winter’, or call us on 0117 989 7700 to request a donation form to be sent to you.