Cambridgeshire Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter Appeal aims to raise £25,000 to support vulnerable people facing fuel poverty this winter. Support is needed more than ever, as energy bills are expected to soar during these cold months.
As severe cold weather spread across our county last week, many people sought comfort by warm radiators and enjoyed hot nourishing meals. However, this is a luxury that some households have not been able to afford. Local households have faced desperate choices, like whether to heat their home or cook a warm meal.
Those affected by fuel poverty cope as best as they can. People cut back on other essentials, such as food, or they ration energy use by heating only one room. Many people will also take respite in other warm places. However, with soaring energy costs and other living expenses, low incomes and energy-inefficient homes, these measures only go so far and should not be what anyone should need to resort to.
Support is needed more than ever to prevent people from spending Christmas in fuel poverty. Some parts of the county are in more desperate need than others, with an estimated 17% of Peterborough households in fuel poverty, compared to the 13.23% national average. This is clearly reflected by increased demand for support, with one of the appeal’s charity partners, Citizens Advice Peterborough, experiencing a 30% increase in service demand.
People in fuel poverty face serious health risks from living in cold homes, with cold-related deaths representing the biggest weather-related source of mortality in the country. Cold homes can cause or worsen a range of serious health conditions, including asthma and heart attacks. With approximately 35,000 excess cold-related deaths in England and Wales each year, hundreds of people in Cambridgeshire may die this winter due to the cold. Moreover, fuel poverty can have a significant impact on mental health, and it is recognised as a risk factor for suicide.
The Surviving Winter Appeal is helping by distributing the raised funds to its nominated charitable partner organisations, who work directly with people who need support. The partners include Cambridge Aid, Citizens Advice Cambridge, Citizens Advice Peterborough, Citizens Advice Rural Cambs, Cambridge City Food Bank and CHS Group. Households who need help to stay warm and have access to energy this winter can apply to these partner organisations, which will make payments or purchases relating to energy and heating, such as topping up pre-payment meters.
Michael O’Toole, Chief Executive at Cambridgeshire Community Foundation commented, “As we approach the festive period, I encourage those who are in a fortunate enough position to help others, to please donate to the Surviving Winter Appeal. At a time when many of us gather in family homes to celebrate with loved ones, some of our neighbours may be struggling to afford a Christmas meal and a warm home to invite friends and family to.”
Together, we can help more Cambridgeshire homes stay warm this Christmas. Give the gift of warmth by supporting the Surviving Winter Appeal.