The Oaklea Trust’s gift to the elderly this winter
As the seasons change and the heating is turned on in many homes The Oaklea Trust, a charitable organisation, based in Cumbria who offer support to disabled and disadvantaged people are giving people in South Lakeland and Furness the opportunity to apply for their ‘Wishlist’ grant alongside the Winter Warmth Fund initiative.
The aim of Wishlist is to raise and distribute funds in support of disabled and disadvantaged children and adults. The criteria for applications changes each year so that The Oaklea Trust can ensure they are able to support a wide and diverse range of the local community. At the present time the maximum grant available is £500 and is for people aged 75 years and over or their carers, living within the South Lakeland and Furness areas of Cumbria, to fund opportunities to:
- Reduce the impact of isolation and loneliness and/or
- Promote independence and quality of life including improvements to living environments.
Many people who are eligible to apply for a Wishlist grant are also those who may benefit from the Winter Warmth Fund run by Cumbria Community Foundation.
The Winter Warmth Fund is an initiative run by Cumbria Community Foundation to help older people in Cumbria stay warm and healthy. It is funded by voluntary donations of winter fuel allowance payments plus individual and local business donations. This is another initiative whereby people over 60, who live in Cumbria, can apply for grants from £125 to £250 to help them maintain an acceptable standard of living during the winter.
There are many inter-related factors which will influence how each individual is affected by the cold weather, including their income, housing type and quality, cost of fuel, isolation and underlying health conditions. Each individual’s response to the cold can vary. Some may heat their home more but buy less food. Others will cut back on their heating and social contact. Any of these actions could be detrimental to their well-being at a time when they could be at their most vulnerable.
The aim of the Winter Warmth fund is to ensure that people who struggle with the cost of winter can survive with a reasonable level of comfort and dignity. The grantee does not have to say what they will spend the grant on specifically, but that the overall effect will be that they can afford to keep warm and look after themselves during the coldest weather.
Services such as hot water and heating are often taken for granted for many, but for older people living in Cumbria, this is often not an option and regularly have to choose between eating and heating. This puts them at risk and they are often in danger of becoming seriously ill or dying. Many people die each year in Cumbria as a result of plummeting temperatures and not being able to afford to pay for hefty energy bills.
Sue Green, Director of the Oaklea Trust comments,
“Older people are often isolated when the winter hits, feeling lonely, unable to get to the local shop, or heat their home. We encourage everyone to think about those elderly people living nearby and if they need support over the winter months; are there any improvements to their home or any ways in which they could benefit from support that could make a different to their lives? We have a pot of funding that could really help to save lives and urge people to get in touch to find out more.”
If you know people who are vulnerable as we approach winter please let them know about Wishlist and Winter Warmth Funds and how the Oaklea Trust can help. With the variety of grant funding and winter initiatives on offer there is no reason why any elderly person should suffer this winter.