The 12th Surviving Winter Appeal was launched today (Thursday 27 October) at The University of Suffolk, Ipswich, and this year it has widened so that it will help Suffolk people, with a three-pronged focus on ‘fuel, food and support’.

With many people already facing problems due to rapid increases in the cost of living, this year the annual appeal has been extended and renamed ‘Suffolk Cost of Living Surviving Winter Appeal’.

Grants to help pay for fuel will be available as before, (to people of all ages), some food projects will be supported, and local charities, which are themselves facing huge challenges, could also be helped.

The Appeal is a joint initiative by Suffolk Community Foundation, Citizens Advice Ipswich, and Suffolk councils’ Warm Homes Healthy People.

Melanie Craig, the Chief Executive of Suffolk Community Foundation said:

“Across the county there are many wonderful food projects, large and small, and this year the Appeal will give grants to help some of those providing food to meet the increased demand we know they are seeing. We also want to help other smaller Suffolk charities who offer essential help and enable people to be self-sufficient, but are themselves facing challenges with stretched budgets,”

“We are very grateful for the support of the Suffolk Building Society who are a donation point for us and to BBC Radio Suffolk and the EADT for their support in raising awareness of the appeal, both to donors and to people who need help.”

Henry Wilson from REACH, based in Haverhill said:

“We are so pleased to be included in the Surviving Winter Appeal! This is fantastic news for the families that we see.”

“With the massive increase in fuel bills, every bit of help is so welcome and makes a huge difference for families. Like Ann and Jim who are in their 70’s. Ill health means that they need their home warm and so they are struggling to feed themselves, and just can’t afford the basics. But when we got in touch to say that there was additional help on the way with their huge electricity bill, they were so overwhelmed, Ann cried. I can’t stress enough how every donation, however big or small can make such a difference to people like Ann and Jim.”

“The team at REACH were wonderful, absolutely wonderful,” added Ann and Jim. “ We couldn’t wish for better. We were both in tears when we walked out of there, because we’re not used to people being kind and helpful like that, it was lovely. They made us welcome, and listened to us. Without them, we would be stuck. I don’t know what we would do.”

In 2021/22, the Appeal raised nearly a quarter of a million pounds and provided warmth and other vital financial advice and support to over 1800 households across Suffolk.

”Melanie added.“Our challenge now is to ensure that this year’s appeal is our most successful yet.”

“As always, we encourage people to hold on to their Winter Fuel Payment and other cost of living support if they need it to stay warm and well this winter.”

“However, in the long held ‘Don’t Need it, Donate it’ spirit of this appeal, we ask that those who can make a donation, perhaps from their Government’s Winter Fuel Allowance, donate it to the Appeal,

The latest local data shows the sharpest rise in fuel poverty in Suffolk that we have witnessed for some time. Despite local and national government support, it is estimated that a further 20,000 households (75,000 in total) are now struggling to meet their living costs and heat their homes as winter approaches.

If you would like to receive individual support from the SUFFOLK COST OF LIVING SURVIVING WINTER APPEAL, wherever you are in Suffolk, please contact Citizen’s Advice Ipswich on T. 01473 298634.

To donate to the Appeal, donate online via the button link below or telephone 01473 602 602 (during office hours), visit any branch of Suffolk Building Society to make a payment over the counter.