Two appeals launched to help Berkshire people in need get through winter

Berkshire, UK (22 November 2021) – Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) has launched two appeals this week, calling on people in Berkshire to contribute what they can to help others living with poverty or hardship to get through the cold winter months.

Its annual Surviving Winter appeal calls on those who can afford it to donate all or part of their winter fuel allowance to help alleviate fuel poverty in the County. Money raised from this appeal will go directly towards charities or organisations who work to help fuel-poor households manage their energy bills, particularly older or vulnerable people.

The Christmas Campaign aims to raise money to help nine local charities bring some Christmas cheer to their beneficiaries, from providing gifts for families to organising festive meals for isolated and vulnerable people. These charities include:

  • Berkshire Women’s Aid – a women’s charity focused on domestic abuse victims
  • Home-Start Slough – supporting families with young children experiencing hardship
  • Pilgrim Hearts Trust – a homelessness charity
  • Reading Elderly Befriending Scheme – offering support to lonely older people
  • St Kitts & Nevis Association Slough – supporting Caribbean communities in and around Slough
  • Thames Hospice – offering palliative care for people with life-limiting illness
  • The Dash Charity – supporting people who have experienced domestic abuse
  • The Slough Job Hub – supporting people into employment
  • West Berkshire Food Bank – providing food parcels for those in financial crisis

These appeals come amidst rising costs of living, exacerbated this winter by sudden rises in fuel prices and financial hardship caused by the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Jon Yates, CEO of Berkshire Community Foundation, said: “What we are seeing is a ‘perfect storm’ of factors that are squeezing people hard and tipping many more households into poverty or hardship. Many will have the impossible choice of eating or staying warm. Others, barely able to make ends meet, won’t be able to give their families the Christmas they deserve.”

Jon continued: “As always, it is older and vulnerable people and families who most need support during the cold winter months. But the uncertainty and low consumer confidence means that fewer people feel able to give to others. It is a worrying situation and we call on people who feel they can afford it to consider contributing to give someone else a hand up this Christmas and winter.”

Almost 25,800 households in Berkshire suffer from fuel poverty[1], whilst between 2017-2018 there were 490 excess winter deaths recorded in the County[2]. In March 2020, there were 28,897 children living below the breadline in Berkshire without accounting for cost of housing. Of these, 80% had at least one parent working[3].

Donations of any amount, from anyone keen to help, can be made via BCF’s Surviving Winter appeal page, www.berkshirecf.org/surviving-winter, or its Christmas Campaign page, www.berkshirecf.org/christmas-campaign-2021 .

Berkshire Community Foundation works across Berkshire to raise, then distribute, funds to charities and community groups tackling vital needs and causes in the County. Last year it raised almost £20,000 via its Christmas Campaign to help nine charities fund essential Christmas items such as food, aid for vulnerable people and presents for children.

In its 2020/2021 financial year BCF distributed £3.2 million in grants to 230 charities and groups running 450+ community projects in Berkshire – touching the lives of 1.5 million people.


[1] Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (29 April 2021). Sub-regional fuel poverty, 2019 data. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/sub-regional-fuel-poverty-data-2021

[2] Office for National Statistics (27 November 2020). Excess winter mortality in England and Wales: 2019 to 2020 (provisional) and 2018 to 2019 (final). https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwales/2019to2020provisionaland2018to2019final

[3] GetReading (8 April 2021). https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/reading-berkshire-news/whitley-charity-warns-more-families-20330343

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