Plea to “better off” Sheffield pensioners to donate fuel payments

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Sheffield’s leading older person’s charity is asking better off pensioners to donate fuel payments to those most in need, in a desperate bid to prevent up to 250 people dying prematurely from the cold in the city this winter.

Age UK Sheffield says winter fuel payments, which are paid automatically to all older people living in their own homes, often go to people who can already afford to heat their homes.

That’s why the charity is appealing for those who can to donate their payments, so it can better support the estimated 14,000 older people in Sheffield who live in poor quality, damp or draughty housing.

Age UK Sheffield Chief Executive Steve Chu, said: “Winter fuel payments are literally a lifeline to thousands of older people in Sheffield each year. But because the payments are made automatically, no matter how rich or poor someone is, we’re appealing to those who can afford to, to donate their payment to us so that we can do more to help those most in need.

“We will use any money we receive to support our work providing information and advice to an older person suffering from the cold this winter. We know that there is a strong relationship between poor insulation and heating of houses, low indoor temperature and excess winter deaths of older people. So anything more we can do to support the thousands of older people in Sheffield who are living in these conditions has the potential to save lives.”

It’s thought that 50,000 older people in Sheffield live in fuel poverty, with one in seven admitting they go to bed to keep warm and save heating costs despite not feeling tired.

Age UK has calculated that cold homes cost the NHS in England more than £1.36 billion every year, with excess winter deaths outstripping road deaths by 15 to one each year.

Everyone aged 64 to 80 automatically receives £200 from the Government each year in November. Those aged 80 or over get £300.

To donate to Age UK Sheffield visit Age UK Sheffield or email enquiries@ageuksheffield.org.uk or phone 0114 250 2850. Alternatively cheques can be made payable to “Age UK Sheffield” and posted to them at First Floor, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, 197 Eyre Street, Sheffield, S1 3FG.