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Older people told not to suffer in silence this winter

Older people in Cumbria struggling to survive the winter months in comfort are being urged to seek help after the Met Office warned the county is about to enter a period of chilly weather lasting throughout the rest of February and possibly into March.

Cumbria Community Foundation, which raises money for the Winter Warmth Appeal, is urging people in need over 60 to contact their local Age UK to receive a one-off grant of up to £250. The winter fuel grants will pay for anything to do with keeping warm and well – energy bills, contributions towards new boilers and even hot meals, insulation or clothing.

Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive at the Foundation, said: “With the recent and forecasted drop in temperatures, and daytime highs barely getting above freezing, this support offers an essential lifeline to older people in fuel poverty.

“Falling temperatures place an increasing financial stress on older people, who often have to ration their energy use. Many are at risk and even die because of the combined effects of fuel poverty and social isolation.”

The lifesaving appeal initially started eight years ago because of shocking statistics of winter mortality among older people in Cumbria – an average of 300 people lose their life due to the effects of the cold weather every winter. The appeal, which encourages those who receive the Government’s Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to someone in need, has raised £150,000 and already supported 900 people this winter.

To donate to the appeal or find out more about the wider work of Cumbria Community Foundation, go to www.cumbriafoundation.org or call 01900 825760.

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