‘It saved my life’ - How Surviving Winter appeal continues to helps heat homes in the cold

PUBLISHED: 13:58 18 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:58 18 December 2019

Volunteers of The Well in Gorleston. Picture: NCF

Volunteers of The Well in Gorleston. Picture: NCF


Volunteers giving up their time to help others fight fuel and food poverty have told of how they were inspired after having to seek the support themselves.

King's Lynn Foodbank coordinator Helen Gilbert. Picture: NCFKing's Lynn Foodbank coordinator Helen Gilbert. Picture: NCF

Run by the Norfolk Community Foundation, the Surviving Winter appeal raises funds each winter to help those most at risk over the winter months - and many of these are those unable to heat their homes and put food on the table as the cold takes its toll.

Just one of the ways the appeal does this is through providing fuel vouchers and support grants to help cover the costs of heating homes, which are distributed through foodbanks across the county.

One of the places that provides these is The Well in Gorleston, which helped current volunteer Kirsty - who did not provide a last name - find her feet in a winter gone by. After using The Well to help her heat her home she decided to give something back in return - her time.

She said: "The Well saved my life and now I look forward to coming here because you know you are going to be welcome. It is a non-judgemental family that I am privileged to be part of."

Surviving Winter 2019 donation form. Picture: NCFSurviving Winter 2019 donation form. Picture: NCF

Eurel, another of The Well's volunteers, added: "We see the relief it gives families and they tell us how much they've been helped; it is so rewarding."

Rosi Broad, community manager at the Salvation Army in Great Yarmouth - another place fuel vouches can be obtained, said: "It is so valuable that we can provide fuel vouchers as well as food to those who are in need.

"Without fuel they can't cook the food from the food parcel they receive, let alone heat their homes."

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Helen Gilbert, coordinator at the King's Lynn Foodbank, added; "The funding for fuel vouchers provided by the Surviving Winter appeal will be invaluable in supporting the people of King's Lynn and surrounding areas with fuel at the coldest times of the year.

"For the first time we are able to offer some help with oil heating, which is a massive relief to needy families."

Last year, more than £11,300 of monies raised through the Surviving Winter appeal went towards helping households tackle the cost of fuel. It also saw more than 200 fuel vouchers given out and £3,500 worth of winter packs distributed.

How can I donate?

The Surviving Winter appeal needs urgent help from local people and businesses to continue to provide companionship and support to isolated older people this winter.

Every penny donated will go directly to local charities to enable them to provide essential help to some of the most vulnerable people in Norfolk from right now, through to spring.

People can donate online via Norfolk Community Foundation's website.

Alternatively please make your cheque payable to Norfolk Community Foundation and send it to Norfolk Community Foundation, St. James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TN, or telephone the Foundation on 01603 623958.

You can also download our donation form here.

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