PEOPLE in Bucks who can afford to give up their Winter Fuel Payment are being asked to donate it to a fund which will get the extra cash to those most in need of warmth as the cold weather takes hold.

The Buckinghamshire Community Foundation have set up the 'Big Heat Appeal' appeal to encourage people to make donations to help the elderly and vulnerable affected by fuel poverty. The campaign was inspired by people who wanted to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment from the government to help less fortunate people heat their homes during winter.

Sir Terry Wogan is one of the celebrity supporters of the campaign. He said: “I'll certainly pass my payment on, and encourage everybody who can to contribute towards it.”

And Sir David Jason has also thrown his weight behind the initiative. He said: "It would be great to think that all those people who are in a porsition to forego part or all of their own Winter Fuel Payment could join this great scheme and spread a little warmth."

Currently 5.4million households are living in fuel poverty, with more than half of the residents living in them aged over 60.

Fuel poverty can lead to anxiety and stress and can cause serious respiratory illnesses and circulatory conditions. Last winter there were 25,400 excess winter deaths, and with the price of energy bills continuously increasing, this number is expected to increase.

The Winter Fuel Payment is not means tested and is paid to all eligible older people, regardless of need.

Money raised in the Big Heat Appeal will ensure people in need can afford to stay warm, eat well, and remain mobile. It can also help them in practical ways, such as making sure they make doctors appointments, get to the shops, and maintain an active social life.

To support the campaign or find out more you can contact the Foundation on 01296 330134 or email