Give a little help this Winter

24th January 2024

Charities, voluntary and community groups across Essex continue to be affected by the cost-of-living crisis, with tight budgets and a rising demand for support. More people than ever have become food insecure or fallen into fuel poverty, and the recent cold snap has further tested their resilience.

Some people, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable, will be making a choice between turning their heating on or buying food, and for people with mobility issues, the Winter months can cause additional stress and feelings of isolation.

Our Surviving Winter Appeal is helping local charities to provide support, warm spaces, and welcoming environments where people can meet, talk about their worries, and get help if needed.

We recently gave a grant of £2,500 to Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) who are helping residents to get through the Winter months, particularly those who are housebound or struggling.

Jacqui Foile, CEO of VAEF said, “Our Benefit Advice Service is vital in helping many elderly and vulnerable people who are struggling with rising costs and high energy bills.  The anxiety and worry, combined with feelings of isolation or not knowing where to turn for help, can have a devastating effect on their health and wellbeing.

“Our team is there to listen and give information and advice.  The funding from ECF will enable us to continue this service for residents, including home visits to those who are housebound, helping them to access the benefits they are entitled to.”

Since 2015, VAEF’s Benefit Advice Service has supported over 1,500 clients and referrals are growing at an accelerated pace and has facilitated benefits for residents totalling £2.1m each year.

Support our Surviving Winter Appeal

Our ‘Surviving Winter Appeal’ is one way of supporting vulnerable people in local communities.  Since the annual Appeal was first launched in 2011, we have given over £100,000 of support to local charities and voluntary groups.

The Appeal invites donations to raise vital funds that can be used to support older and vulnerable people, keeping them healthy and well during the colder months.

Andy Payne Worpole, head of programmes at ECF, said: “The Winter can be a difficult and dangerous time for older people, but also for those who are vulnerable due to issues including homelessness, disability or illness.

Local charities and voluntary groups can provide a lifeline of support, but the rising cost of living, increased food prices and energy bills is making it difficult for them to continue providing their vital services.

“But, you can help!  All donations to our Surviving Winter Appeal will enable us to support local voluntary organisations and activities to help reduce loneliness and isolation, contribute to fuel and food costs, and assist those in need to get access to specialist services and community groups.

“If you receive the Winter Fuel Allowance or the Energy Rebate and don’t need it to pay your own bills, please consider donating some or all of this to our Appeal.

How you can help

  • Donate your winter fuel payment if you don’t need it
  • Give a one-off donation
  • Set up a regular monthly gift
  • Give online here

Cheques can be sent to the Essex Community Foundation offices: 3 Hoffmanns Way, Chelmsford, CM1 1GU. To ask questions about the Appeal and other ways to make a donation, please call us on 01245 355947.

Does your charity need funding this Winter?

If you are a local charity or community group that needs funding to support your work during the colder months, including core costs (such as rent and salaries), please call our grants team on 01245 355947.