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News 27 November 2020

Don’t let Dorset residents suffer this winter

There are an estimated 19,000 people living in Dorset who cannot afford to keep their homes warm during the coldest winter months. This statistic is alarming, with so many of those already living in fuel poverty now having to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated the problems that many people face each winter.

Energy Saving Trust Foundation is supporting Dorset Community Foundation on this year’s Surviving Winter campaign. The campaign, which is run by several community foundations across the UK to help combat fuel poverty, raises money to help older vulnerable people to stay warm and well over winter. Dorset Community Foundation is marking the 10th anniversary of its Surviving Winter appeal by asking more people than ever to help elderly and vulnerable people stay warm this winter.

The ratio of winter-related deaths is higher in Dorset than most of the UK and the elderly are among the most vulnerable. The county of Dorset’s population has the largest percentage of older people in the UK. 2018/19 figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed 730 people in Dorset die each year of cold-related illness, a 40% increase on the previous figure.

Cold weather impact

Most people who suffer a premature winter-related death are over the age of 65, and 75% of these deaths are due to the impact of cold weather has on respiratory and circulatory conditions. Tragically, there are more heart attacks and strokes in the winter months; living in a cold home can have a range of impacts on physical and mental health.

In winter, older people can become increasingly isolated as they spend more time in their homes out of the cold weather. They are less likely to travel, even for essential reasons such as food shopping and medical appointments.  There are still many people living in fuel poverty who are forced to make a daily decision about whether to eat that day or turn their heating on, affecting the elderly, children and families.

Fuel poverty awareness

Today (Friday 27 November) marks Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. Energy Saving Trust is joining national fuel poverty charity NEA to highlight these issues and encourage people to seek the help that is available to keep warm at home during the winter months.

If you have a parent, grandparent or know someone who might be able to donate their £200 Winter Fuel allowance this year, please ask them to consider contributing to the appeal. Their Payments will be ‘recycled’ to someone in Dorset who cannot afford to keep their homes warm during the coldest months.

All donations, no matter how big or small are welcome and Dorset Community Foundation ensure all donations go directly to local residents.

Your donation could provide:

  • £50 will pay for a month’s worth of logs for older people living off-grid
  • £150 will pay for hot meals for a month
  • £200 will help with quarterly fuel bills

Please donate at https://localgiving.org/appeal/SWA/ or by sending cheques, made payable to Dorset Community Foundation, to The Spire, High Street, Poole, BH15 1DF.

Your donation will make a real difference and could directly save the life of someone living in Dorset this winter.