Five questions about: The Surviving Winter 2013 appeal

 

Another appeal? Haven't I dipped into my pocket enough already?

You don't need to. The Surviving Winter 2013 appeal has been launched by UK Community Foundations to encourage people to donate their Winter Fuel Payment, if they are able, to help other more vulnerable older folk.

So who qualifies for Winter Fuel Payment?

People born on or before 5 January 1952 qualify. They get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay their heating bills. Payments are made automatically between November and December.

So why would people donate their payment to someone else?

There are plenty of well-off older people who say they don't need the payment. This is the third year of the appeal and last year £1.2m was raised, with 20,000 people benefiting. The cash can help those in fuel poverty who can't afford to heat their homes.

Are there many people who can't afford to heat their homes?

It's estimated that there are many millions. For older people, inadequate heating can lead to an early death. In fact, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that there were almost 24,000 excess winter deaths in people aged over 65 last year. Age UK calculated that this was 193 excess winter deaths every day, or eight per hour.

I don't qualify for Winter Fuel Payment. Is there anything I can do?

Whatever you can to help the elderly and vulnerable in your communities this winter. You can, of course, donate to the appeal if you wish. Donations are used to provide warmth packs and blankets, boiler repairs, funding Meals on Wheels and lunch clubs, as well as helping people to pay their energy bills and better insulate their homes. Go to www.survivingwinter.org.uk if you'd like to contribute.

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