Cumbria unwanted winter fuel payments fund tops £20,000

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More than £20,000 has been raised from donations of unwanted winter fuel payments in Cumbria.

Cumbria Community Foundation is asking those receiving government winter fuel payments to donate all or part to a fund if they can do without the cash.

In the first four weeks of the campaign £20,650 has been donated.

The foundation has begun redistributing the money in an effort to reduce hundreds of winter-related deaths in the county every year.

'Fuel poverty'

Foundation director Andy Beeforth said: "The fund is aimed at providing support to vulnerable people where support from existing schemes is not getting through or not getting through quickly enough.

"All the money raised is used to provide support to elderly people who are suffering because of fuel poverty.

"It is directed at those most in need through voluntary and community groups in Cumbria who are supporting vulnerable older people.

"Everyone over the age of 60 is automatically entitled to the government's winter fuel payment and for many people this is vital.

"While no-one wants to see the end of this universal benefit, some people can manage without it and are putting it to good use."

NHS Cumbria estimates there are 300 "excess winter deaths" in the county each year.

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