Wiltshire winter fuel payments given away to vulnerable

A Wiltshire charity has raised more than £60,000 to help vulnerable people warm during the winter.

The Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon was given about £300 from individuals who did not want their government-awarded winter fuel payment.

Development director John Yates said all the money raised will go directly to people in Wiltshire who are "struggling" with their fuel bills.

The scheme was set up two years ago. The 2012 campaign has been launched.

"Energy bills can be a constant worry for older people," said Penny Church from Age UK Wiltshire, which helps collect and distribute the donations.

"They're benefiting hugely from what's a relatively small payment. We're talking generally about £150 per person.

"But that could mean that it we get a really cold spell, they feel that they're able to keep their heating on all day and keep warm when they need to."

She added that people have to be in "fuel poverty" to qualify for the aid meaning they would be spending more than 10% of their income on heating bills.

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