RESIDENTS in Dorset are being urged to help elderly people struggling to survive the winter.

Dorset Community Foundation is running its Surviving Winter Appeal to raise funds for those who find themselves in difficulty in the harsh winter months and to prevent cold weather deaths.

Appeal manager Tracy Melling said: “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 Dorset Community Foundation, which works to support local causes across Dorset, wants to fight fuel poverty and social isolation.

Ms Melling added: “Once the cold weather starts to bite, many elderly residents become trapped in their own homes and find getting to the shops difficult, meaning they quickly run out of basic food.

“Since the rise of domestic energy prices, many will not be able to afford the large fuel bills, this means living in room temperatures that are too cold for their health.

“Room temperatures at 15 degrees put an older person at risk of a heart attack, 12 degrees can trigger a stroke and at 9 degrees there is a real possibility of dying from hypothermia.”

Mrs Gale, a recipient from last year’s appeal, said: “I was very ill last year and without the grant from the Surviving Winter Campaign I don’t know what I would have done.

“It really made the difference between keeping my heating off and being able to turn it on.”

The Foundation is dispersing the funds on an emergency basis through the citizens’ advice bureaus and anyone in need of support should contact them.

To make a donation to the Surviving Winter Appeal call 01202 292255 or visit

To pay by cheque make it out to Dorset Community Foundation, Dorset Community Foundation, 24 St Peters Road, Bournemouth, BH1 2LN.

With cheques, donators should state whether it is for the appeal and whether they are a taxpayer so the charity can claim gift aid on their behalf.