A fund made up of unneeded winter fuel payments has provided a ‘lifeline’ for vulnerable people by raising £15000 so far this winter.
Paul and Sue Newman, a retired couple from Glenfield, felt they did not need the Government payment and so set up a campaign whereby surplus winter fuel money could be redirected to help those most in need of it.
Age UK are one of the beneficiaries of the fund and have received more than £9,000 so far, Tony Donovan, Age UK Leicestershire’s Executive Director, said: ‘There are people who are struggling to feed and heat themselves in these freezing temperatures, with this money we are able to buy them food, blankets and fuel – the money is a lifeline for them.
‘Paul and Sue are doing a fantastic job of redirecting money to where it is most needed, the people who are benefiting from the fund are very grateful, as are we.’
Paul, an avid Leicester Tigers fan, said: ‘Age UK are doing a fantastic job and have a brilliant presence in the local community, they are helping lots of elderly people survive this winter.’
More than 100 local pensioners have contributed all or part of their fuel payments to the 125 Fund this year and money from the fund will also go towards Leicester Royal Infirmary’s ‘Our Space’ campaign – which is raising money to build a specialised space for children with cancer.
The ‘Our Space’ appeal hopes to begin work this summer, provided the £1.4 million can be raised in time. Paul said: ‘You only have to go down to the cancer ward at the Infirmary to see how important it is– there are 18 year old patients on the same wards as 80 year old patients.
‘It would be nice to have an area where they can have their own space; if it was your grandchild you would want that for them.’
Tim Diggle, Head of Fundraising at Leicester Hospitals Charity said: ‘All the donations we receive take us another step closer to our target of raising £1.4 million and we are so grateful to everyone who is supporting us.’
The 125 fund is set up through the Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation, a group which assists people who wish to set up charitable funds, the foundation’s CEO Katy Green said: ‘The 125 Winter Fund is one of our most exciting funds and it is Sue and Paul’s energy and enthusiasm that has really made a huge difference locally.’
The 125 Fund is still open for contributions, to donate go to www.125fund.org.uk or call 01162222205.