More than 5m households in the UK are living in fuel poverty and almost half of those are people aged over 60.

With rising fuel bills and the prospect of another cold winter, more people are at risk than ever before.

Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) is taking part in the national Surviving Winter Appeal, with the support of Saga, to help thousands of vulnerable and older people affected by fuel poverty.

Comfortably-off pensioners are urged to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to their less well-off peers.

The payment of between £100 and £300 is an annual tax-free state benefit paid each winter to all eligible older people to help keep them warm.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of our communities, the Oxfordshire appeal raised about £35,000 last year, which was directly targeted to help those locally who struggle to get through the winter.

Voluntary groups were invited to apply for grants to help those most in need to make sure they stayed warm, ate well and remained mobile. Practical help was also given such as ensuring they got to doctor’s appointments and the shops, and maintained an active social life.

The scheme makes a real difference to people in your community. One couple in their 80s received £230 to help pay their electricity bill so they didn’t have to be afraid of running their heater and lights.

Another Oxfordshire resident Jimmy Oddy, 78, wanted to help the Surviving Winter Appeal, despite not being able to make a donation. So he has lovingly hand crafted two fully illuminated wooden cribs along with traditional Nativity figures, which took him over 50 hours to build. OCF will be entering these into theBigGive Christmas Challenge eBay auction to raise money for the appeal.

Jayne Woodley, chief executive of OCF, said: “We want to encourage anyone to make a donation to support those in need and for whom the Winter Fuel Payment is not nearly enough. It is vitally important for us to act as a catalyst to enable 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 will also be inspired to add their support.”

For more information about OCF visit or call 01865 798666. How to donate:

  • Online at donation/oxfordshire
  • By text FUEL 00 to 70070
  • By cheque to 3 Woodin’s Way, Oxford OX1 1HD.