Thousands of vulnerable and elderly people affected by fuel poverty will get an helping hand this winter thanks to a new campaign.

The Community Foundation for Surrey is taking part in the national Surviving Winter appeal launched on November 10 with the support of Saga.

Individuals who can afford to are being asked to donate their winter fuel payment to support older and vulnerable people in Surrey who will struggle to pay for heating during the coldest months.

In the UK 5.4 million households are currently living in fuel poverty and almost half of those are aged over 60.

In Surrey last year, 528 deaths were directly caused by winter weather with 39,414 households living in fuel poverty.

As heating costs increase, campaigners are concerned that more elderly people will struggle to look after themselves this winter.

Professor Patrick Dowling, chair of the Community Foundation for Surrey, said: “I would encourage anyone that can afford it, to donate their winter fuel allowance to support others in Surrey that need additional help during the winter.

“The money raised locally will be used to support local charities and community organisations in Surrey to help the most vulnerable members of our communities and make sure that they receive the help they need.”

Children’s television celebrity, Bernard Cribbins, has already offered his support to the campaign by donating his winter fuel payment.

He said: "This is a simple but very effective idea and am delighted to be supporting it. “With the help of the Community Foundation, the money raised will quickly find its way to those needing help with their winter bills this year.”

For more information and to donate your fuel allowance visit