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Age UK Launches New Heating Campaign for the Elderly

By David Holmes on November 8, 2010

Age UK, the charity for elderly people in Britain, has recently launched a campaign designed to help the most vulnerable members of society stay warm this winter.

The ‘Spread the Warmth‘ initiative has been devised following concerns that many of Britain’s over-60-year-olds are concerned about their central heating fuel costs ahead of the forthcoming winter, which weather experts predict could be as cold as last year. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the plight faced by millions of people annually.

Speaking about the campaign, Charity Director at Age UK, Michelle Mitchell, said: “Through the Spread the Warmth campaign, we want to raise awareness of the difficulties many older people face in winter and let them know that Age UK can help them”. Unfortunately, the blight of fuel poverty is thought to affect older people more than official statistics would suggest.

According to a study undertaken by Age UK earlier this year, the number of households in fuel poverty is thought to be higher than the 1.7 million officially reported. Speaking at the beginning of November in reference to the coalition Government’s public spending measures, Ms Mitchell said: “While the Government’s decision to protect Winter Fuel Payments will make a big difference to the lives of many low-income older people this winter, our research shows that there is still some way to go to take the fear out of winter”.

Age UK has also revealed that two in every five people aged over 60, which accounts for approximately 4.6 million people in England, worry they will be unable to pay their domestic fuel bills over the winter, whilst just under 33 per cent or 3.6 million over-60-year-olds intend to rely on ‘extreme’ energy saving measures. Last winter, 15 per cent of those surveyed by Age UK admitted to wearing coats and scarves indoors, whilst 11 per cent confine themselves to a single room, 4 per cent stay in bed during the day and 2 per cent visit a public library to keep warm on a shoestring.

Age UK hopes that, by raising awareness of fuel poverty through the Spread the Warmth campaign, fewer elderly people will have to suffer this winter.