SPREAD THE WARMTH
“Heat or eat?” – this harsh choice is one that will be faced by many of our neighbours as temperatures drop and fuel costs soar this winter, although help could be at hand.
Fuel poverty – when more than 10% of household incomes goes on energy costs – affects more than 12% of all Borough households, a level 50% higher than the London average. And the situation is particularly acute for older residents, many of whom live alone and on fixed or declining incomes.
Our Borough has the highest percentage of over 65s living alone in the whole UK and with many homes lacking central heating, double glazing and adequate insulation, older people will suffer.
The government makes Winter Fuel Payments of £200 to all over 60s, and £300 to all over 80s, but with average energy bills now around £1300, this will not go very far for those in need.
Last year several donors sent the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation their Winter Fuel Payments, asking us to apply them for the benefit of those who needed them more than they did. In response, we have now set up a special Winter Warmth Fund to offer all who can afford to do so the opportunity to make a similar gesture. It is a simple way of making a huge difference to our vulnerable older neighbours.
Working with the local NHS, the Council and local voluntary organisations including Age Concern Kensington and Chelsea, the Foundation will help to provide boiler servicing and maintenance, advice on energy efficiency and home insulation, as well as “winter hotspots” – opportunities for otherwise isolated older people to come together for a warm drink and some company.
Together we can change older people’s lives! Every penny given to us will receive the warm thanks of our neighbours in need.