HUNDREDS of pensioners in South Somerset could benefit from cash raised through an appeal aimed at helping the most vulnerable elderly residents survive the cold this winter.

The injection of funding comes from the kindness of other pensioners, who have supported the Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter Appeal.

The appeal encourages all pensioners who can afford to forego their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it and help those who need it most.

The Foundation has already received over 100 donations and is on course to raise over £50,000, which could be channelled to and through local organisations like the Yeovil Day Centre, Age UK Somerset and Yarlington Homes.

All households with someone over 60 can receive the Winter Fuel Payment from the Government of either between £200 or £300 in November and December.

Somerset Community Foundation has contacted dozens of local organisations working with the elderly to ask them how and where the money can be spent to help in the best possible way, and has started making grants from the donations received so far.

The appeal is being backed by district councillors and council leader, Cllr Ric Pallister, who has committed to donating his payment, said: “Cold and damp are killers that disproportionately affect the elderly in our communities and those suffering fuel poverty are most at risk.

“If we can help we should and I hope others will join me. Many of us accept the winter fuel payment as a Christmas bonus and not because we desperately need it, yet across the district there are those who are struggling to stay warm.”

More than 500 vulnerable people died in Somerset over the past two winters, from causes directly attributable to the cold and poor living conditions, and it is estimated that over 33,000 pensioners are living in fuel poverty. Many face considerable hardship this winter as the cold weather bites and fuel prices increase.

To donate, or to register interest to receive a grant, see the website (click on the link on this page of our website) or contact Rosie Inge on 01749-670070 or e-mail