As the winter sets in, the Bishop of Clifton, Right Reverend Declan Lang, has spoken of his concern for local elderly people unable to pay their fuel bills.
Bishop Declan spoke in support of a Somerset Community Foundation initiative. The Foundation is calling on all who can afford to forego their Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) to donate the money to those who need it more. The Surviving Winter Appeal is underway now.
Bishop Declan said: "As winter approaches there are many people who are concerned about how they can pay their fuel bills and keep warm in the cold weather. I support Somerset Community Foundation and their efforts to assist those who are most in need. I have been told that more than 400 winter-related deaths occurred in Somerset last year. This is alarming news and I think we all need to be aware of our neighbours who may live in vulnerable conditions."
The Anglican Bishop of Bath and Wells Right Reverend Peter Price is also backing the campaign. He said: "This is a wonderfully imaginative and innovative idea which deserves our full backing. It is a way of helping those in real need. There is something slightly uncomfortable about receiving Government support for something as basic as winter fuel when you are not in need. My wife Dee and I will therefore be joining others who have decided to donate their Winter Fuel Payment to the Somerset Community Foundation, who can use the money to help local people in real need. We'll also Gift Aid the donation, making it worth even more to the Foundation."