There are, on average, 35,000 excess cold-related deaths reported each winter in England and Wales.
The key causes of these winter deaths stem from the effects of cold homes resulting in serious health issues, including respiratory illnesses, suppressed immune systems, poor blood circulation, and joint pain. These issues can lead to strokes, heart attacks, hypothermia, dangerous falls from sore joints and increased symptoms of arthritis, influenza, and serious respiratory diseases.
A major factor leading to excess deaths and illnesses is fuel poverty. This is a term used for the situation over 4 million households face in the UK every year. Households suffering from fuel poverty tend to have:
Poor quality housing with inadequate heat-efficiency, leading to mould and dampness.
Low incomes and high energy bills, resulting in insufficient or no heating.
Poor physical and mental health due to a continuous lack of warmth and nourishing food.
Fuel poverty affects people, young and old, all over the UK, sadly causing them to make difficult decisions between putting the heating on, using hot water, buying warm clothes, or having enough food to eat. The rise in fuel costs and inflation this winter, along with delays to flu jabs and COVID boosters will place a heavy weight of worry on the shoulders of households who are already being impacted by fuel poverty.
Many of our network's community foundations are helping with winter appeals that will directly fund local initiatives and individuals that help to combat fuel poverty. By donating to your local community foundation, you will be supporting charities and volunteers in your area to provide warm meals, emergency warmer packs, food parcels, grants to pay bills, regular welfare checks, and many more vital services to help people this winter.
Learn more about the community foundations that are running winter appeals below:
Now, more than ever, communities are pulling together to address the most pressing local needs. If you would like to find out what's happening in your area and how you can get involved, you can find your nearest community foundation here.
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