Press release


Friday 16 December 2011

As the snow blows in, Strictly Come Dancing host, Sir Bruce Forsyth, quickly steps into action to help save lives. Amid his preparations for hosting this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing finals, Sir Bruce Forsyth CBE, still found time to lend his support to the Community Foundation Network's 'Surviving Winter' campaign. He has sent a cheque which will recycle his Winter Fuel Payment to support this wonderful initiative

As the snow blows in, Strictly Come Dancing host, Sir Bruce Forsyth, quickly steps into action to help save lives

Amid his preparations for hosting this weekend's Strictly Come Dancing finals, Sir Bruce Forsyth CBE, still found time to lend his support to the Community Foundation Network's 'Surviving Winter' campaign. He has sent a cheque which will recycle his Winter Fuel Payment to support this wonderful initiative. 

This UK-wide campaign encourages people to make donations to help older and vulnerable people who cannot afford to pay their fuel bills - and who are at real risk of dying of cold in the coming weeks. It has already helped thousands of people across the country stay warm and well as the cold weather has started.

The campaign was inspired by individuals who say they want to donate their Winter Fuel Payment to those who are less fortunate than themselves, but anyone can join to help save lives this winter.  Last year, official figures show that nine older people died every hour during the winter months, we must try to stop this happening if we can!

So far the campaign has gathered huge support, with many celebrities* endorsing it and, indeed, pledging their own Winter Fuel Payments to this cause.  As the UK feels the first bite of cold weather this weekend, Sir Bruce Forsyth is the latest celebrity to show his support for the appeal.

Commenting on the campaign, Sir Bruce Forsyth, CBE said: ''I'm so delighted to be supporting this campaign, which can help save lives this winter.  To think of people dying of cold in this country because they can't afford enough heating is really distressing and if I can help make a difference I am very happy to support Saga's call on behalf of the Community Foundation Network's Surviving Winter appeal.''

Dr Ros Altmann, Director General, Saga said: “The winter freeze has arrived and poses a very real problem for poorer families, including millions of pensioners struggling to heat their homes.

“For many older people, inadequate heating can be life-threatening. Last year the shocking statistics were that over 25,000 older people died of the cold and there are ways to help avoid this. The Surviving Winter campaign is ready to help people in all local areas who are struggling to stay warm.   

“We are truly delighted to have Sir Bruce’s support for this important appeal.”
If you want to help you can donate online at or 





A printable donation form is available on the Saga website -  The form should then be posted to: Surviving Winter Appeal, Community Foundation Network, 12 Angel Gate, 320–326 City Road, London, EC1V 2PT. Cheques should be made payable to Surviving Winter Appeal.

Below is a list of some of the other celebrities (and some quotes) who have endorsed the campaign so far:

·         Dame Helen Mirren
·         Sir Terry Wogan
·         Sir Michael Parkinson
·         Jeffrey Archer
·         Jonathan Dimbleby
·         Sue Macgreggor
·         Gloria Hunniford
·         Nick Hewer
·         Rosemary Conley
·         Denise Robertson
·         June Whitfield
·         Joanna Trollope
·         Bill Roache
·         Dame Vera Lynn
·         Kate Adie
·         Peter Snow
·         Sir Victor Blank
·         Ann Widdecombe
·         Dame Cleo Laine


About the Campaign:

The Surviving Winter campaign is being run by Community Foundation Network and was piloted by a few Community Foundations last year, following demand from better-off local pensioners who wanted a way to give their Winter Fuel Payments to other people who may need it more.  Due to last year’s success, the campaign has been rolled out nationally and there has been overwhelming support so far.

Supporting the Campaign is purely voluntary and open to anyone, not just pensioners.  We know the vast majority of our 12 million pensioners really value their tax-free winter fuel payments. But, we are encouraging those who may be fortunate enough not to need this money to recycle it to those who are desperately in need.
The campaign is on its way to reducing 'excess winter deaths'.  Local Community Foundations across the country are very effective at delivering help to their communities.  They have many volunteer staff, so their overheads are low and that means they have pledged that every single pound donated will be a whole pound delivered to those in need.


Here are some quotes from our other celebrity supporters:

“This is a very good idea and I support it wholeheartedly.  When I get my fuel payment, I will be redistributing it.  I like the idea of giving up the money where it isn’t needed and passing it on to those pensioners who will welcome it.  All power to Saga for Surviving Winter.”  
Sue Macgreggor

“This is a jolly nice campaign and I support it fully.  It makes perfect sense for those for whom the fuel payment is not significant to their general income, to surrender it to those who need it most.  Good idea, Saga.”
Nick Hewer

“When I receive my fuel payment I will certainly be donating it to those pensioners who need it.  The thought of people dying of cold in this country is just horrific.  I am pleased to support Saga’s Surviving Winter appeal and happy to offer my payment to a scheme run by a publication I know and trust.”
Virginia McKenna

“Although it’s lovely to receive the winter fuel payment, it’s ridiculous that I should keep it, when there are elderly folk struggling to keep warm with one bar of an electric fire.  I’m absolutely 110 per cent backing Saga’s campaign to pass on payments to those who need them.”
Gloria Hunniford
"I will gladly donate my winter fuel payment to Saga's Surviving Winter campaign.  My wife Mary, who has served as president of the British Energy Foundation, came up with a message encouraging others to do the same, 'don't be fuellish!'  I feel guilty about receiving it and will gladly pass the money on to elderly people in need of it."
Jeffrey Archer

“I really think this is a brilliant idea and I heartily encourage anyone who feels they are not actually in need of the Winter Fuel Payment to consider donating some or all of it to help others and let's hope it will make a difference to people's lives this Winter.
“I am pleased that Saga is supporting this Community Foundation Network campaign to encourage pensioners who do not need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate part or all of it to those who are dreading the winter and have to choose between heating and eating. 
“Please donate to the Community Foundation Network, they will ensure that the money goes to help people to survive the winter.”
June Whitfield

“I am delighted to support the Surviving Winter campaign, which will help older and vulnerable through our harsh winter. I encourage anyone that is eligible for the winter fuel payment who does not need it, to donate it to show their compassion for those in greater need.”
Kate Adie

“A lot of people need this money and I don’t.  It takes a couple of clicks online to pass it on, and I hope all of us who can afford to will do so."
Peter Snow

"This is a wonderful appeal to encourage people who receive the Winter Fuel Payment but feel they don’t need the money, to donate it and help to those to whom it will make more of a difference. In the current economic climate, it is especially important we can support people who may struggle in the winter months and I am delighted to show my support and will look forward to donating my payment to help someone who may be in more need of it."
Sir Victor Blank

“I fully support the Surviving Winter Appeal to assist older people and the vulnerable in Lancashire to keep warm and healthy during our cold winters.  If you are in a position to do so please help by donating all or part of your winter fuel payment to this very worthwhile cause.”
Bill Roache, Actor (Ken Barlow – Coronation Street)

“It is a shocking fact that fuel poverty effects many thousands of older and vulnerable people in Sussex, and this campaign is a fantastic way for people to help those who cannot afford to pay their fuel bills and will be at risk this winter. I would encourage everyone who can afford to donate all or part of their Winter Fuel Allowance to consider doing so.”
Dame Vera Lynn

“I will be the first to donate my Winter Fuel Payment to the Surviving Winter Appeal. This small gesture is such an easy and obvious way to support local people in real need and I hope others will follow suit.”
Ann Widdecombe

“This is an excellent way for local people to help some of the most vulnerable older people in their area.  I’ll certainly pass my payment on, and encourage everybody who can, to contribute towards it.”
Sir Terry Wogan

“I fully support the “Surviving Winter Appeal” to assist the elderly and the vulnerable to keep warm and healthy during our cold winters.  If you are in a position to do so please help by donating all or part of your winter fuel payment to this very worthwhile cause.”
Sir Michael Parkinson

“Staying warm and healthy in our cold winters is something most of us take for granted.  However, when the idea of those more fortunate “handing on” their winter fuel payments to local, vulnerable people was presented, I wanted to pledge my payment to the “Surviving Winter Appeal”. It would be great to think that all those people who are in a position to forego part or all of their own winter fuel payment could join this great scheme and spread a little warmth”. 
Sir David Jason

“Your donations will make all the difference to thousands of vulnerable and elderly people. I do hope that you will join me to support the Surviving Winter Appeal this year.”
Jonathan Dimbleby

“I’m very happy to give my winter fuel allowance to help someone else who needs it more –  how great it is that so many of us “of a certain age” are all linking up across the whole country like this, to make something really special happen.”
Rosemary Conley

“The Surviving Winter Appeal is an important initiative and I am more than happy to support it. Winter weather conditions are worsening and many families and individuals are struggling to keep themselves warm as they live in fuel poverty.  If you can spare it, giving your Winter Fuel Payment to someone who needs it desperately is a wonderful thing to do.”
Denise Robertson

“I am very pleased to be donating my Winter Fuel Payment this year because there are so many people here in Milton Keynes that can’t afford the most basic things like a warm home and food on the table.  My donation will ease the burden on these people in our coldest months.”
Dame Cleo Laine

 “NEA is delighted to be supporting the Surviving Winter Campaign. As the national fuel poverty charity, we are only too aware of the dangers of living in cold damp homes, and with winter approaching many people will be dreading the prospect of cold conditions and high energy bills. Through the campaign, we hope to raise awareness of the 6.6 million UK households that are currently estimated to be in fuel poverty, as well as work with individual community foundations to deliver effective, tailored solutions that will permanently remove people from fuel poverty”.
Peter Smith, External Affairs Manager, National Energy Action.

“This is a commendable initiative which will make a big difference to the lives of older and vulnerable people.  In these difficult economic times, any schemes which encourage people to give what they can to help those most in need are to be applauded.”
Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, National Council for Voluntary Organisations

“Baker Tilly supports the Surviving Winter Campaign because it is a simple but effective idea that makes a big difference to hundreds of elderly people across the UK.”
Martin Rodgers, Chairman, Baker Tilly