One the most extraordinarily positive things to come out of our past year in lockdown is the generous way that #TeamSuffolk have stepped up in so many ways to make sure that those who need help in our County are being supported with open arms.
Just one example is this year’s Surviving Winter Appeal, which is breaking all records and has already raised over £275,000 and heated over 800 homes so far. But, as the temperatures continue to plummet below freezing, the organisers at Suffolk Community Foundation are keen to let everyone know that help is still very much available to those who need it.
Suffolk has been amazing in the way that it has pulled together in so many ways and everyone who has supported this appeal should be so proud that together we have already raised nearly £275,000 and heated over 800 homes. But Winter is still very much upon us and there is still so much more we can to do to help people if they can be brave and step forward and ask for that help. Its still at least another two months before any of the more vulnerable members of our community will be able to reduce their reliance on central heating. Also we are still at a very crucial stage in our recovery from the pandemic and it is vital that we keep people safe and warm in their homes and continue to relieve pressure on the NHS.
In previous years the appeal has found that it is at this point in the winter that energy bills start landing on people’s doormats and, with the lockdown meaning that many have spent more time at home with the heating on, fuel bills could cause concern.
The message for Suffolk is twofold really, please do not be afraid to put your heating on, it is so important for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Also, if your fuel bill is causing concern, a quick call through to the team at Citizen’s Advice and money could be available to help you with it and there is also expertise within their team to help with energy tariffs and looks at what other hardship support might be available. Over 300 people applying for a grant this year have also been referred on for further assistance. This is often help that can really make a longer-term difference to their lives, it can be lifechanging!
The fabulous teams at Citizen’s Advice across Suffolk are all available to help and many people have written in praise of the support they have received and the difference that has been made to their lives…
I struggled fighting the Coronavirus back in April and now my lungs are very weak. I am really feeling the cold and it’s now a must to stay warm. Surviving Winter has helped me to buy logs for my wood burner which has to stay on all the time. Thank you so much to everyone who is giving so generously. You are saving lives in Suffolk, no doubt about it.
Receiving this grant is the difference between falling ill and keeping warm. I have M.E. and as this affects the muscles it affects the ability of the body to keep warm, as well as depleting the immune system. And, having been hospitalised with pneumonia I am aware that I should never let my house temperature drop below 60 degrees F. My heating costs are high, even though I am very careful, I run 2 to 3 oil filled radiators at the lowest setting. In the summer months my electricity usage costs £3-4. Last week it was nearly £40. My main source of heat is a coal, open fire with a back boiler, the solid fuel for this costs £26 a week so last week alone keeping warm enough cost £65 and even so, my lavatory only registered 2 degrees yesterday afternoon! Thank you to everyone who makes this grant possible.
If you would like to have support from the Surviving Winter Appeal, you can contact Citizen’s Advice on 01473 219 770.
If you would like to make a donation or are in receipt of a non means tested government Winter Fuel Allowance that you don’t need, you can make a donation to the Surviving Winter by calling 01473 602602, making a donation online here, or making a donation at any branch of Ipswich Building Society. Cheques made payable to Suffolk Community Foundation can also be sent to The Old Barns, Peninsula Business Centre, Wherstead, Ipswich, IP9 2BB.