Campaign to help those suffering fuel poverty raises more than £8,000 in a week

Community Foundation's Surviving Winter campaign has received huge amount of support in its first week

Phil McGarth, chief executive of The Cedarwood Trust
Phil McGarth, chief executive of The Cedarwood Trust

A North East campaign to help the elderly with fuel poverty this winter has raised more than £8,000 in a week.

The Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign encourages those who receive the winter fuel payment but do not need it to donate their grant to help support people out of fuel poverty this winter.

Since its launch at the beginning of December the campaign has raised £8,480.

The Journal is backing the campaign, which was launched by the Community Foundation and is now in its third year.

One of the first people to donate their winter fuel payment was former police chief constable Crispian Strachan, who called on others who could afford to donate to do the same.

Lisa Cappleman, head of philanthropy development with the Community Foundation said: “It’s been a brilliant start and we are so grateful. This is such a worthy cause and we would encourage people to carry on giving.

“We would like to thank everyone who has already donated and The Journal which has been instrumental in the start of this.”

Last year, with the help of the Journal, the Community Foundation raised over £20,000 to help groups that support older and vulnerable people through the winter.

This year it is hoped as many people if not more can be helped through the winter period as temperatures continue to drop.

One of the groups to already benefit from the money donated is The Cedarwood Trust, based in the Meadow Well area of North Shields, North Tyneside.

Phil McGrath, chief executive of The Cedarwood Trust, said the £500 they received was helping support their users who suffer fuel poverty.

“We used it to help people with practical stuff really so we were trying to think outside the box which was great because the funding allowed us to and because it was around helping people keep warm,” said Mr McGrath.

“One of the things people were saying they needed was slippers for the kids and dressing gowns, so that’s what we spent some of the money on. We helped around a dozen families with that. We are also working with some of the older residents in the community and we used some of the money to hook them in with other sources of support and also offered eco-friendly kettles.

“The Meadow Well estate, in terms of economic deprivation, is one of the lowest scoring in the country.

“So we were able to match the funding to some extent with some of the activities we were doing and making everything a bit more effective and targeted on those people really struggling.”

Mr McGrath said he would encourage anyone who can to support the campaign.

“There’s a least 15 families who have benefited and a number of elderly people who have been helped from that £500,” he added.

If you would like to donate to the Surviving Winter campaign, visit www.justgiving.com/SurvivingWinterCFTWN , call 0191 222 0945 to make a donation by card, or post cheques payable to Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to Surviving Winter, Community Foundation, Freepost NEA 11784, Newcastle, NE1 1BR.

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