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Dorset Community Foundation
Case study

Dorset Community Foundation

Dorset Community’s Surviving Winter campaign aims to support Dorset residents living in fuel poverty.


The Dorset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal celebrated its tenth year in 2020/21, with its key aim to help keep vulnerable elderly Dorset residents warm. There are currently 19,000 people in Dorset living in fuel poverty, according to government estimates, with older people in this category more at risk of dying from cold-related illness.

Each winter, Dorset Community Foundation teams up with experts to distribute £200 grants to older people in need, so they can afford to heat their homes without having to compromise on buying food and other essentials. Since 2011, the charity has raised over £250,000 and helped thousands of local people.

This year, the Energy Saving Trust Foundation supported the Dorset Community Foundation by collaborating to help amplify the campaign and reach new audiences.


With such alarming statistics, Dorset Community Foundation set out to help those living in poorly heated homes who may be fearful for their health. In 2020/21, the charity set out a target to raise £80,000, which would be enough to help 400 people living in fuel poverty.

Dorset Community Foundation wanted to highlight the hidden plight of older people who are struggling to pay their fuel bills. Moreover, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, with families and individuals struggling around the country, there was an even greater need to help those already living in hardship who had been further impacted by coronavirus.

Dorset Community Foundation had previously relied on repeat donors to support the campaign. In 2020/21, the Energy Saving Trust Foundation wanted to help broaden the audience reach to generate additional support for the campaign and help reach more people in need.


Dorset Community Foundation wanted to spread the message of fuel poverty to wider audiences, which was made possible with the support of the Energy Saving Trust Foundation. A campaign plan was agreed, and the Energy Saving Trust Foundation was able to provide recommendations and carry out additional marketing activity, including radio promotion with Heart Dorset, who have an estimated reach of 141,000 listeners. The 20 second radio advert ran for eight weeks and included a strong call to action, directing listeners to the campaign donation page.

With the majority of donations being made online, paid for social media also played a large part in reaching new audiences – some posts reached as many as 69,000 Twitter users. This in turn had a positive impact on the number of donations being made throughout the campaign period.

“We’ve been delighted with the contribution that the Energy Saving Trust Foundation made to our Surviving Winter campaign. The organisation’s input and expertise has helped this year’s appeal, which was the tenth anniversary of its launch, to be the most impactful ever. We’ve broken records in terms of the money raised and I am sure that the Foundation involvement has been a big influence on that. We are hugely grateful for the support and hope to work with the Energy Saving Trust Foundation again.”

– Grant Robson, director at Dorset Community Foundation


There has been resurgence in community spirit as volunteers all over the county have stepped up to help their older neighbours with everyday tasks, such as shopping or collecting medical prescriptions. Dorset Community Foundation hopes that this support will extend beyond the pandemic.

By March 2021, the total raised by Dorset Community Foundation through the Surviving Winter campaign was £115,000.

The Foundation

The Energy Saving Trust Foundation is the charitable arm of Energy Saving Trust and shares its mission to address the climate emergency.

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Last updated: 7 October 2021