Spread some warmth this winter, give away your Winter Fuel Allowance

After a lovely mild autumn, it is now  feeling appropriately wintry for December!

Which calls to mind an idea first put to me last summer when the temperature was a balmy 82 degrees. It is a creative scheme to help the vulnerable elderly.

The people who came up with it are the creative folk at Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF), a charity that matches grant givers to groups or individuals in need of funds.

Here’s how it works:

Most people over 60 receive a Winter Fuel Payment of between £100-300. It’s what is called a universal state benefit, so everyone eligible for a pension gets it. I know it is much appreciated by many older people, who need the extra money to heat their homes properly, yet I hear some people say they are comfortably off and can manage perfectly well without state benefits.

Here is an answer for them. If they prefer to give the money to help someone less fortunate, they can donate their Winter Fuel Payments to the CCF’s Winter Fuel Fund. The Fund will go to charitable projects for older people – for example, it might pay for an old lady to go and have lunch at a day centre one day a week, or for an outing. People can register their interest on line at http://www.cambscf.org.uk/the-winter-fuel-fund.html; or email Sam Weller at [email protected]