Donors used to gifting their Winter Fuel Payment to the community foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal can now donate to our new Health and Wellbeing Fund, which has a wider remit to support anyone living in Oxfordshire in isolation, leading to loneliness and ill health.
Many older people receive a Winter Fuel Payment but feel they don’t need it. For the past four years, OCF has offered a mechanism for anyone wanting to give something back to make a donation to the Surviving Winter appeal. To date, the appeal has allowed us to make £157,976 in grants to groups that provide friendship, advice, exercise and nutrition to older people.
We are delighted to have been working very closely with Age UK Oxfordshire during these four years, and this year Age UK is running a high-profile campaign to combat loneliness amongst older people, in partnership with John Lewis and the Oxford Mail. We will be providing ongoing support to Age UK via the Winter Fuel Payment donations we receive.
In addition, we recognise that a wider group of Oxfordshire residents are affected by issues that affect their wellbeing, all year round. For example, in Oxfordshire:
- Men from the most deprived areas can expect to live 8.8 years less than those in the least deprived areas
- Nearly 19,000 people have a limiting long-term illness or disability
- 18,200 people died prematurely in the winter of 2013-14
- Oxford has a high rate of hospital admissions for self-harm and, within the county, the majority of police detentions under the Mental Health Act occur in Oxford
- Oxford is estimated to have among the highest rates of crack and opiate use in the country, at a rate of 16.6 users per 1,000 residents
For these reasons, OCF wanted to expand the remit of the appeal, and make grants to a range of charities and small community groups working directly with people affected by loneliness, disability, mental health and substance abuse problems. In 2014-15, we awarded a total of £164,360 to 43 organisations tackling issues such as these, and we want to do more.
We are therefore inviting our Surviving Winter donors to give to our new Health and Wellbeing Fund, aims to address several of the issues affecting vulnerable people in Oxfordshire (see link below).
To make a postal donation, please send a cheque payable to “Oxfordshire Community Foundation” to 3 Woodin’s Way, Oxford, OX1 1HD, including your name, phone number and address.