Campaign launched to keep vulnerable warm

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An initiative to keep vulnerable older people safe and warm this winter was launched today.

Saga and the Community Foundation Network (CFN) have teamed up for this year’s Surviving Winter campaign, which ran for the first time last year.

The campaign will enable pensioners to “recycle” some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help those struggling with their energy bills.

Actor Steven Fry tweeted last month that the campaign was “A great idea, much needed!”.

The campaign began when Saga customers asked if there was a way to use their Winter Fuel Payments to help others less fortunate than themselves.

Donations will be used to fund Meals on Wheels, help people pay their energy bills and better insulate their homes.

Last year, Surviving Winter raised £2.5m and helped more than 20,000 people.

For older people cold weather can be particularly life-threatening, and more than 25,000 UK pensioners die due to the cold each winter, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Saga director-general Ros Altmann said: “We are particularly concerned about the statistics showing that the UK has a higher winter death rate among older people than other European countries.

“This initiative facilitates a way for those who don’t feel they need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to someone who is struggling with the cost of heating.”