WITH recent figures showing that 2.1 million pensioners in the UK live in relative poverty charity, Friends of the Elderly has launched its 2023 Winter Appeal to support older people this winter, by paying for grants for essentials such as winter clothing, warm bedding, food and heating bills.
The 2023 Winter Appeal aims to raise vital and essential funds for the Charity’s Grants Service which helps and supports older people living throughout England and Wales who are State Pension age and living on low incomes, paying for essentials that they cannot otherwise afford. Its aim is to raise money to help alleviate some of the numerous challenges that older people face this winter, many of whom will reach crisis point in the cold, isolating months ahead and will have nowhere else to turn.
The grants have already helped 71-year-old Josie* who said:
“Without the help and assistance from Friends of the Elderly, I would have gone under. I had nothing from month to month. For some people, it has become heat or eat and I would have been the same without your help.”
When Josie’s mum was diagnosed with dementia, she had to cash in her small pensions from a life of working to pay for care, leaving her with very little for her own retirement. Her home has had multiple issues, ranging from leaks to a broken boiler and growing internal mould, and she has struggled to pay for the repairs she desperately needs to stay warm and healthy.
“I retired years ago. I’ve always worked in an office, and I volunteered with several charities. My Dad died of a heart attack leaving my Mum who then struggled with dementia for 11 years. I had two small pensions from working but I cashed in my pensions to pay for my mother’s care. You give up your life to support your family.
“When it was freezing cold last December, the boiler broke. I have it serviced every year and there has never been a problem. One morning during this cold period, the outer pipe froze. When the boiler turned on that morning, I heard two large booms and the following day it didn’t come on at all. It was expensive, but I had to call someone out to look at the boiler and he said that a part needed to be replaced.
“I had no choice but to keep the boiler on at all times for over a week as once it was turned off it wouldn’t start up again. I had to leave it on low, even overnight as well, which caused an increase in bills.
“The utility prices have been bad for everyone, it’s been horrible. I get terrible Psoriasis with the stress and most nights it wakes me up every two hours. It really has been one thing after another.”
Friends of the Elderly provided Josie with a grant of £400 to help pay to repair her boiler and cover the increased cost in the bills she incurred. Mark said:
“Helping older people like Josie is at the core of our 2023 Winter Appeal. It’s what it is all about – helping older people to keep warm, healthy, comfortable and safe. Our Winter Appeal is extremely important as it allows us to help, support and make tangible, clear and positive differences to many older people, their wellbeing and daily lives during the cold, wintery months.”
“Without the help and assistance from Friends of the Elderly I would have gone under, I had nothing from month to month. The Charity’s grant has helped me no end. You have made me able to afford to keep the utility bills paid and keep afloat. For some people it has become heat or eat, I would have been the same without the help from Friends of the Elderly.
“Friends of the Elderly is a lifeline. I have no other family to ask for help. I don’t really have any friends anymore as they all have a life, I don’t. I never thought I would be receiving help, it’s hard to swallow your pride when you’ve worked hard your whole life.
“I don’t know of any other charity that helps like Friends of the Elderly. It really is like having a friend in the background. Everyone I have spoken to at the charity has been so friendly. Your charity couldn’t be praised highly enough.”
“At Friends of the Elderly, we totally appreciate just how tough and challenging times are for everyone, so we are exceedingly grateful for anything, no matter how small, people are able and willing to give. Any donation to our 2023 Winter Appeal will go directly to helping older people in need like Josie.”
*Name changed for confidentiality
Are you able to help older people like Josie through the bitterly cold and isolating winter months ahead? If you are, please visit: https://www.fote.org.uk/winterappeal23/.