Help us save a life and end winter fuel poverty

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JUST £200 could save a pensioner’s life.

And today The Star launches a campaign to help save the lives of hundreds of elderly people who die from cold each winter.

Last year’s extreme winter killed 515 people in Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley.

And as the cold weather begins to bite again this year, the 73,000 pensioners who live in fuel poverty in South Yorkshire are wondering how they will survive the next few months.

The Surviving Winter Appeal, backed by The Star, aims to put an end to our pensioners’ winter agony.

In the next few weeks the Government will pay every person aged 60 or over a winter fuel allowance - usually at least £200 per household.

But many people who get the money do not need it. They may still be working, have ample savings in the bank, or even live abroad.

The Surviving Winter Appeal urges people who don’t rely on their winter fuel payment to survive to donate the money instead to more vulnerable people, who are less fortunate than themselves.

And other readers, who are not yet 60, are also being encouraged to donate cash.

The Star’s Editor Jeremy Clifford said: “It doesn’t seem right that every single person aged 60 and over is given this money, when quite clearly not everyone needs it.

“For many people that extra £200 landing in their bank account in November and December is just a bonus, but for others it can be a matter of life or death.

“A better, fairer system should be put in place, to send that money where it is needed.

“But until that happens, I urge those who can afford it to donate their winter fuel allowance to those who really need it.”

Pauline Grice, chief executive of South Yorkshire Community Foundation which is organising the campaign, said: “The Surviving Winter Appeal aims to encourage those who can afford it to support those in need.

“It is vitally important to provide a channel for those who want to help the most vulnerable members of our community to get through the winter with dignity.

“We hope others will see what is being done and also wish to lend their support.”

The winter fuel payment is a tax free grant made by the Government during November and December to people over the age of 60, to help them keep warm during the winter.

All money donated via the appeal will go straight into the Surviving Winter Fund, administered by the South Yorkshire Community Foundation.

It will be used to help vulnerable pensioners pay their fuel bills, install better insulation, or buy food if they have been prioritising keeping warm over feeding themselves.

n Are you planning to donate your winter fuel allowance? Did a relative of yours suffer in the cold last winter? Contact Ben Spencer - email or call 0114 276 7676 x 3103.