GLASTONBURY Festival founder Michael Eavis has pledged his support to an initiative that aims to help vulnerable people in Somerset heat their homes.

The Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) launched this year's Surviving Winter appeal in November.

The appeal encourages people who can afford to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help people who may struggle to cover the cost of their bills.

The SCF expects around 11,000 Somerset pensioners to find themselves in fuel poverty this year amid the cost-of-living crisis - around double last year's figure.

Volunteers at the SCF say that some pensioners do not turn on their heating at all, or cut back on food, to save money during the winter months.

The charity says some older people may stay at home to save money this winter and will find themselves cut off from their family and friends. 

The Surviving Winter appeal supports around 800 people in Somerset every year with a cash grant to help them pay their energy bills.

This year, the Surviving Winter grants will increase from £300 to £500. Additional help will be offered for people to buy essential items to stay warm and make their homes more energy efficient. 

Justin Sargent, SCF chief executive, said: “We estimate that at least 5,500 low-income pensioners in Somerset will not have enough money to afford to heat their homes sufficiently this winter.

“Cold weather causes hundreds of preventable deaths every year, with older people and those living in older or isolated rural homes most likely to experience the largest degree of fuel poverty.

“Thanks to the bright idea of one generous pensioner, who asked us many years ago if we could get his Winter Fuel Payment to someone who needed it, we can make sure that hundreds of older people in Somerset are being supported to stay warm, safe and well every winter through our Surviving Winter campaign.

 “And we’re delighted to announce that Glastonbury Festival organiser and long-time Surviving Winter donor Michael Eavis CBE has offered his support for another year.”

To donate to Surviving Winter, visit or call 01749 344949.

A donation form is also available to download from the SCF website.

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