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Oxfordshire Community Foundation launches Surviving Winter 2014-15, raising millions in the face of 18,200 excess winter deaths

At the end of November, OCF once again launched its annual Surviving Winter appeal alongside other community foundations in the UK. Now in its fifth year, we believe this continues to provide a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of the challenges faced by older and vulnerable people. Whilst the cold weather brings fuel and food poverty into focus, there is an urgent need to overcome loneliness and isolation all year round. The appeal has since received coverage in the local press highlighting why this campaign is needed more than ever.

The Surviving Winter campaign started as a vehicle to recycle Winter Fuel Payments that people had received but didn’t feel that they needed, but quickly expanded to take in donations from people of all ages, and of all amounts, which are directed to the local groups supporting vulnerable people in winter. Donations pay for everything from individual bursaries for fuel bills and hot water bottles to lunch clubs for older people and boiler repairs.

Oxfordshire Community Foundation has already started working with Age UK Oxfordshire, the CAB and the Oxford Diocese to set up collaborative working that will really make a difference.

We now have funds available from last year’s Surviving Winter appeal ready to be distributed to groups that support elderly people. Note that for this fund only, you are able to apply again within 12 months of a previous grant. Apply via our general application form.

Stephen Hammersley, Chief Executive of UKCF said: “Millions of people are battling fuel poverty. What’s worse, we know that last year around 18,200 deaths – mostly older people – were due to winter conditions. People are quite simply dying of the cold in this country. The Surviving Winter appeal is a small but important intervention in this cycle, and the community foundations work hard to make sure that the money donors give so generously goes a long way. We are proud of what we have achieved in the four years Surviving Winter has been running – a total of £4.7 million raised so far, and 65,000 people helped.

“But we can’t help more people on our own. We rely on donations of all sizes, and we are constantly amazed by the willingness of people to help those struggling to stay warm and well. We are asking again if people can consider giving any amount to our appeal.”

Donate to the campaign on the Surviving Winter JustGiving page

Listen to our CEO Jayne Woodley talk about the campaign on BBC Radio Oxford

Download our OCF Surviving Winter factsheet