A CAMPAIGN to help vulnerable people keep warm this winter was launched with an emotive photoshoot on Bournemouth beach.

Representatives from the Dorset Community Foundation arranged 520 pairs of slippers on the sand, one for each of the people who die prematurely every year in Dorset due to the cold.

The Surviving Winter Appeal aims to raise £40,000, which will be divided into grants of £200 each for the most needy people suffering fuel poverty.

All people over the age of 65 qualify for winter fuel payments between £150 and £300 per year.

Now the foundation’s Chief Executive, Jon Yates, has urged those who don’t need the money to hand it over to those who do.

He said: “There are a lot of people who get this money from the government who could use it to help others.

“However, we want to make it very clear that those who need the money should use it to keep their heating on. We don’t want the wrong people giving up their allowance.”

Mr Yates said all sectors of the community are urged to contribute to the campaign, which last year raised a staggering £75,000.

He added: “We have used the backdrop of Bournemouth beach and the slippers to illustrate how Dorset is a county of contrasts.

“While many older people move down here to retire and enjoy the beautiful scenery, others suffer in isolation during the colder months.”

Mr Yates said fuel poverty can lead to many significant health conditions and to death.

They can also become trapped indoors due to bad weather and icy conditions and the foundation has also urged Dorset residents to keep in contact with their elderly neighbours.

Mr Yates added: “It is shocking that in this day and age many older people, here in Dorset, are having to choose between heating or eating during the winter months.”

The appeal is run in conjunction with the Citizens Advice Bureau and anyone wishing to apply for a grant must do so through them.

Donate online at dorsetcommunityfoundation.org or send a cheque to Dorset Community Foundation, The Spire, High Street, Poole BH15 1DF.