HELP is now available for local residents aged over 65 who are struggling to pay their fuel bills this winter. A variety of cold weather related support and services for the elderly are being funded as a result of the Dorset Community Foundation’s - Surviving Winter Appeal.
The Bournemouth based charity has been at the forefront nationally and locally in raising awareness of fuel poverty and social isolation amongst the elderly. These two factors are the primary reasons why more than 500 people in Dorset died from a preventable cold weather related death last winter.
The appeal has so far raised just over £14,000, this sum is much lower than last year and demonstrates that times are tough for many. Despite this, the Community Foundation is working at full stretch to ensure the donations are quickly distributed to groups and organisations that work with older people in need of help during the winter months. Though the Appeal itself cannot directly fund individuals, it is working with Citizens Advice Bureaus to give out grants towards paying fuel bills. By working in this way, donors can be confident that only eligible people will receive grant payments.
The Surviving Winter Appeal is currently funding; grants to assist with paying fuel bills, grants for heating repairs, extra support for lunch clubs, befriending schemes, help with transport, and it has again funded emergency radiators for Dorset Fire and Rescue to deliver to any homes they are called out to, that do not have heating. Last year the appeal funded 25 radiators and these provided 1800 days of warmth to a great number of homes that were without heating.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that can make all the difference, and one of the barriers for many older folk is icy paths and being able to get from their front door to their hospital transport or a lift to the doctors. So this year the appeal is funding a limited supply of 1 kilogram tubs of Ezi-Melt de-icing salt for use on domestic paths. Fifteen hundred tubs have been supplied to the Appeal at cost by Ezi-Melt and these will be distributed through local community groups across the county.
This is the third year Dorset Community Foundation has run the Appeal and once again it is working at a strategic level to generate extra funding for local charities and community groups who are providing immediate help and assistance to vulnerable older people and those at risk this winter.
This approach was proved highly successful and last year the Community Foundation worked with and funded 21 charities and community groups. This enabled these groups to concentrate on meeting the increased demand for their services and provide help and support to people in need, thanks in no small measure to the extra money they receive from donations made to the Surviving Winter Appeal.
If you would like to make a credit card donation to the Surviving Winter Appeal (registered charity No: 1122113) telephone: 01202 292255 or make an online secure donation at www.dorsetcommunityfoundation.org