A Hertfordshire charity calling on those who can to forego their Winter Fuel Payment for vulnerable pensioners in the county has received support from an Absolutely Fabulous actress.

Joanna Lumley has backed Small Acts of Kindness’ new initiative to channel the Government payments to support elderly people facing the choice between heating their house and buying food this winter.

Ms Lumley urged anyone who thinks they can afford to donate their benefit to the charity to do so, adding: “It is a little shocking we have many older people who are having to choose between food and heating, when there are thousands of people receiving this lump sum who don’t need it and would much rather their payment benefitted someone who is struggling to keep warm this winter.

“I would absolutely urge anyone who doesn’t need the benefit to donate it to the charity so they can distribute thousands more Warm in Winter gift bags to older people and actually save more lives than they are usually able to.”

The Watford Observer has also supported the charity’s campaign by publishing articles bringing the matter to our readers’ attention.

Winter Fuel Payments are paid out from November to virtually everyone over 65. The payments range from £200 to £450 irrespective of circumstance.

Small Acts of Kindness, which provides 5,000 Warm in Winter gift bags for the elderly, told this newspaper there were 31,000 excess winter deaths in 2016-17 among over 65s from cold-related illness such as heart attacks and strokes across the country.

Lynne Misner, chief executive of Small Acts of Kindness, said: “Our practical Warm in Winter gift bags containing essential keep warm items are an intervention that can help reduce the risks that older people face when they are cold. For some older people, they could be a life saver.

“That’s why we feel we can ask those who consider that they don’t really require their Winter Fuel Payment to live comfortably, to donate it, to a cause which reaches those in most need.”

Donations of Winter Fuel Payments can be made via the charity’s web site www.smallactsofkindness.co.uk.

If eligible for Gift Aid the charitable donation will increase by an additional 25 per cent.

See here for original story https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/17004266.small-acts-of-kindness-urge-those-who-can-to-donate-their-winter-fuel-payment/