Now in its 3rd month, Suffolk’s Surviving Winter Appeal has hit the £115,000 mark – an incredible achievement that would not have been possible without the overwhelming generosity and ongoing support of Suffolk. So far, the appeal has heated almost 300 homes throughout the county. 57 people have made contact about receiving support for the first time this year, proving that spreading the message of what the appeal is about is helping more people as well as increasing donations to the appeal itself.

Suffolk Community Foundation are again working closely with the Citizen’s Advice team on this important appeal, which have grown this year to support increased interest, and been relocated within the money team at Citizen’s Advice in Ipswich.

The Foundation’s Head of Public Affairs Tim Holder says, ‘It is so important that we create a safe and supportive place for people to contact when they need help, and the team at Ipswich Citizen’s Advice provide that help in a caring and confidential way. We are so delighted with the progress they are making to improve the situation of older vulnerable people in Suffolk.’

Brad Jones, Editor of East Anglian Daily Times, Josh Hopkins of Hopkins Homes and Tim Holder, Head of Public Affairs at Suffolk Community Foundation 
Nicky Willshire, Manager of Citizen’s Advice Ipswich

 

Head of Ipswich Citizen’s Advice Nicky Wiltshire says, ‘When calls come through to us, often people are confused, worried, and sometimes just simply haven’t known for a long time where to turn for help. It’s vital that we give them the time they need to unpack the concerns they have so that we can begin to understand how we can help.’

One of the worrying statistics uncovered by this year’s campaign already is that 60% of those we’ve helped are spending more than 10% of their total income on fuel alone. This means that when we look at the bigger picture of their finances, they may well be in a position of having to decide between heating or eating.

Anna Pipe is an Energy Advisor within the Citizen’s Advice money team. She says, ‘once we are able to secure all the available financial support in terms of benefits and grants that older people may not be aware of, we also then look at how we can reduce their fuel costs. Support can be as diverse as advising on better value energy tariffs and how to use more hi-tech heating equipment such as thermostats, or even as basic as making sure that their radiators have been bled and are operating effectively. This we do through a combination of telephone advice, and if needed, home visits.’

The money team at Citizens Advice including staff members Nelleke van Helfteren, Jo Burrows and Ola Muszalik-King, along with apprentice Elliot Oliver and trainee Steve Dixon.

Tim Holder continues, ‘The partnership model we’ve created in Suffolk to achieve the best possible results from the Surviving Winter Appeal has been made up of a partnership of public donations, business match funding from Hopkins Homes and others, and awareness support from local media. What is really special about the service Citizen’s Advice provide is that it’s trusted, professional and delivered by a combination of a small team of staff augmented by many more fabulous volunteers. We even have an apprentice taking their first steps into the working environment being supported do to so as part of the Surviving Winter team in the Citizen’s Advice offices in Ipswich.’

However, with a bitterly cold winter forecast and more bad weather on the way, the reality is that there are many more people that will need your support.

If you are in receipt of a non means tested government Winter Fuel Allowance that you don’t need, and would like to pledge it, or simply would like to make a donation to the Surviving Winter Appeal, please contact Suffolk Community Foundation on 01473 602 602 or visit any branch of Ipswich Building Society to make a payment over the counter.

If you would like to have support from the Surviving Winter Appeal, you can contact Citizen’s Advice on 01473 298 634. If you would like to volunteer to support Citizen’s Advice work on the appeal, please visit www.citizensadviceipswich.org.uk.  

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