GroupsImpactNewsOCFMembers of the Valentine Club enjoy a day out on a boat, and OCF has placed a red heart on top of their photo!

Steeple Aston’s seniors group The Valentine Club has received a metaphorical red rose from OCF, as they are awarded a £1,000 grant from the Surviving Winter appeal to help them share friendship and activities for rural over-60s. 

The Valentine Club is one of Oxfordshire’s largest seniors groups, and have just reached 100 members. The club has this week received a boost to help them provide more entertaining days out for their participants, with a grant of £1,000 awarded. This comes as the club celebrates 63 years since it was founded on Valentine’s Day 1952!

The club takes its members out on at least seven coach trips every year, enabling those who would normally be restricted to staying at home the chance to join in with activities and visit places that would otherwise be impossible. This is of great importance to older people living in rural areas such as Steeple Aston, who are at great risk of remaining isolated and lonely. Instead, members have something to look forward to each month, with high-quality entertainment, and are able to experience the joys of visiting a place of interest with friends of their own age.

The new funding comes from OCF’s Surviving Winter appeal, which encourages people who don’t need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it for the benefit of vulnerable elderly people. The appeal has so far raised 50% of the funds needed to reach a target of £20,000. However, this is a shortfall when compared to progress at the same point last year – a discrepancy made all the more poignant by recent news that the current death rate in England and Wales is running about one-third higher than its normal rate for this time of year.

Surviving Winter has lately received a welcome boost from celebrities, including Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir Terry Wogan and Dame Helen Mirren, who has said: “It’s hard to think of the millions of people struggling to keep even one room warm as the cold weather sets in. Surviving Winter is a simple yet effective campaign which helps many people in fuel poverty – 23,000 across the UK last year. I know that any donation goes straight to those in need, no matter what size or amount.”

If you would like to follow Dame Helen’s example, please visit our JustGiving page or call us to arrange your donation on 01865 798666.