DORSET Community Foundation is urging those who do not rely on their winter fuel allowance to donate it to the Surviving Winter Appeal.

The foundation says that the money could help an elderly person who is struggling to survive the winter, and that most cold weather-related deaths are preventable.

Vulnerable and elderly people just need to be given the right information and support to get them through the harsh winter months, says Tracy Melling, appeal manager.

She added: “Poorly insulated homes, fuel poverty and social isolation are a few of the many reasons why winter is a silent killer for many older people.

“With the recent flooding and cold weather, we hope that readers in the community will help us put a stop to these deaths by making a donation to the Appeal.”

The Surviving Winter Campaign is a countywide appeal led by the Dorset Community Foundation, a local charitable foundation which supports local causes across Dorset.

Tracy went on to say that fuel poverty and social isolation mean that, once the cold weather starts to bite, many elderly residents become trapped in their own homes.

A lot may find it difficult to get to the shops, meaning that they will run out of basic food quickly and, since the rise of domestic energy prices, many will not be able to afford the large fuel bills.

Room temperatures at 15 degrees puts an older person at risk of a heart attack, 12 degrees can trigger a stroke and, at nine degrees, there is a real possibility of dying from hypothermia.

Dorset Community Foundation says that they urgently need people to make a donation to provide warmth and comfort to the vulnerable and elderly in our community.

The foundation will then disperse the funds on an emergency basis through the Citizens’ Advice Bureaus, so those needing support should contact their local branch.

n To make a donation to the Surviving Winter Appeal, send a cheque made payable to Dorset Community Foundation, along with a note stating that it is for the Surviving Winter Appeal and whether you are a taxpayer, to: Dorset Community Foundation, 24 St Peters Road, Bournemouth, BH1 2LN.

Alternatively, call the foundation on 01202 292255 or go to