CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Campaign launched to convince wealthier pensioners to donate fuel allowance

West Hampstead actor Sir Derek Jacobi hands over his payment

18 December, 2018 — By Tom Foot

Sir Derek Jacobi with, left, Age UK Camden’s chair of board of trustees Mary Burd and new chief executive Nikki Morris

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to persuade those who do not need their winter fuel allow­ance to donate it to a charity supporting vulnerable older people.

Actor Sir Derek Jacobi, who lives in West Hampstead, backed the campaign this week by donating his allowance to charity. All over-65s receive a non-means-tested payment of £100 to £300.

Age UK Camden says that all money donated to the charity will go towards paying for day centres, home visits and advice services for older Camden residents such as Lilian Shillingford.

The 87-year-old, who lives on Denton estate and is a regular at Henderson Court Resource Centre in Hampstead, said: “If you’re only on a small pension it’s a bit difficult. I had two heavy bills just recently so that fuel money I got went on the bills. I think if people can afford it, the rich that really have got money they don’t know what to do with, they should consider giving it to charity.”

National estimates suggest that in Camden about 13 per cent of households are too poor to heat their homes properly in winter. Born in 1931, Lilian grew up in care in a home with around 500 other children and worked as a seamstress, in a distillery making bottle caps, and four years as a housekeeper at a college in King’s Cross.

“I didn’t know my parents really,” she said. “I’m supposed to have a brother and sister but I’ve never set eyes on them. So I’ve more or less been on my own for quite some time. I can’t really cope too well now. It’s a bit difficult for me to walk around the flat by myself because I had a couple of falls. One time I came in with my shopping and slipped on a letter on the floor. The shopping went all over the place. There I was laughing my head off because I couldn’t get up.”

Age UK Camden’s Nikki Morris said: “The donation of someone’s un­needed winter fuel allow­ance would give genuine support to older people enduring real hardship.”

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