Surviving Winter Appeal

What is Surviving Winter?
Surviving Winter is an appeal run by Community Foundations all over the UK. It aims to support people who are suffering due to the cold winter weather. 


Data obtained from the Office of National Statistics Nov 2019

How did it start?

The campaign was started in 2011 by our neighbouring Community Foundation in Somerset when an elderly gentleman approached them asking how he could ‘recycle’ his Winter Fuel Payment from the government by giving it to someone who needed it more than he did.

Why is there a need for it?

For anyone living in poverty or with ill-health, the conditions of winter make day to day living much harder. 

In the cold weather people who are living in poverty can find the additional costs of heating and lighting their home, and to power appliances to cook hot food impossible. The worst off may have to choose between eating or staying warm.

People who are already suffering with a health condition are put at extra risk from the cold and a weakened immune system. They may be at additional risk of colds and flu, arthritis, rheumatism, lung disease, asthma, even heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and, the very worst-case scenario, death.

Those people who struggle with mobility find icy and snowy conditions an additional and significant barrier to getting out and about. This can mean missing important appointments, an inability to get food or other supplies to keep warm, and it can also have a significant effect on any social interaction, leaving people feeling alone and isolated. Slips and falls can also occur resulting in injuries and or hospitalisation.

Mental health conditions can also be exacerbated by the cold and darker days of winter. 


What about in Devon?
In the countryside there is a high proportion of older, detached houses which are harder to insulate, and have restrictions to heating improvements.

Transport services affected by cold weather conditions may leave residents in rural areas particularly cut-off.

We are a county with a high proportion of privately rented accommodation and these renters are typically amongst the lowest paid, and in homes of the poorest energy efficiency.


Read more about Fuel Poverty in Devon in this report written by our Knowledge Guru, Nicola Frost.


Watch BBC Spotlights coverage of the Surviving Winter Appeal last year

How can I help?
We are asking anyone who is in receipt of a Winter Fuel Payment and is willing and able to donate it, to please consider doing so via our CAF Donate Page.

Although this is a great way of collecting donations that does not leave those who are able to forfeit their Winter Fuel Payment out of pocket, we are not limiting donations to these means alone! We welcome donations from anyone at all for any amount who would like to help support vulnerable people during winter, for any reason.

Perhaps you’ve had a collection at your place of work or amongst friends?

Or you like to make a charitable donation at Christmastime?

Maybe you are a business or organisation who would like to make a contribution to help more people in Devon ‘Survive Winter’?

How do Devon Community Foundation distribute the funds?
As well as being experts in collecting and managing funds, Community Foundations also work closely with the communities of Devon, including the groups and organisations all over the county who support people through all sorts of difficulties and adversities.

Over the 8 years since Surviving Winter started, we have partnered with 19 different organisations and distributed over £57,000 of funds… so far.

Last year we worked with LiveWest Homes Limited to distribute payments to people all over Devon. As a housing association LiveWest are in a unique position to understand the financial position and vulnerabilities of its many residents. It used that insight to contact older people, those with disabilities, physical difficulties and those living in poverty to assess if they were eligible for a £150 payment. LiveWest also collaborated with other Community Foundations in our region in the same way, and collectively, were able to distribute over £48,000 to households in need all over Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, which included LiveWest's own match funding too.

Read here about how 361 Energy Action also sought and helped those suffering with fuel poverty with grants from the appeal in both 2018 and 2019.

Find out about Plymouth Energy Community who have used Surviving Winter funds to issue emergency fuel vouchers for the last two years.

Surviving Winter has been recognised and supported by many celebrity endorsers over the years including both Ann Widdecombe and Angela Rippon from the West Country who’ve said:

“I will be the first to donate my Winter Fuel Payment to the Surviving Winter Appeal. This is an easy and obvious way to support local people in real need, and I hope others will follow suit.” Anne Widdecombe.

“Winter fuel poverty is a genuine threat in our society today. The campaign is a great way to help to get the money to those who need it most.” Angela Rippon

How can I donate?
Please visit our CAF Donate page to make a donation of any size! Thank you.


We can also accept donations by post – please send cheques made out to Devon Community Foundation to: Surviving Winter, Devon Community Foundation, The Factory, Leat Street, Tiverton, EX16 5LL.

Any questions?
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Grants Team on 01884 235887 or by email