The Big Bolton Fund Big Heat Campaign Get Celebrity Backing
10th December 2010
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Donating to The BIG Heat Campaign will make a difference now

November 2010 – This winter, you can help the community and voluntary groups in Bolton who help most vulnerable people by donating Winter Fuel Payments to The BIG Bolton Fund.

Bolton CVS, which administers grants on behalf of statutory bodies such as Bolton Council and NHS Bolton, recently experienced cuts of £89,000 which means less to give to vital good causes.

Karen Minnitt, chief executive of Bolton CVS, said: “We have launched The BIG Heat Campaign this Winter, to allow those that do not need their Winter Fuel Payments to donate to charity and help causes in need.  Due to the cuts experienced earlier this year25% of any monies donated will be given distributed this winter.  The remaining monies % will become part of The BIG Bolton Fund and receive match-funding from the Government and be distributed post-March 2011.

Minnitt added, “The sad news is that the reduction in small grants will affect the smallest voluntary groups who work tirelessly to provide a huge range of services to local residents and to enhance the quality of life within Bolton.  By approaching those that do NOT need their Winter Fuel Payment, we can help groups such as the Winter Watch that helps and supports the homeless in Bolton.”  

Julie Hilling, the MP for Bolton West, said: “Things are going to get worse. These groups do such great work, so I am delighted that immediately 50% of any donations received will be used to help those that are most vulnerable in our community immediately.

All over the country affluent pensioners are donating their Winter Fuel Payments to fund those less well-off than themselves. Led by donors in Somerset, Leicestershire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and Dorset, older people who automatically receive the payment, but feel they do not need the money, are donating it to support community groups and vulnerable people for whom the WFP is not nearly enough. 

Michael Eavis, founder of the Glastonbury Festival, recently celebrated his 75th birthday and has offered to sign over his winter fuel payment to the fund set up by his local community foundation in Somerset. "It's not very often I'm easily persuaded to support other people's ideas of charity giving,” he said. “But on this occasion I could see immediately the sense and logic behind people who are reasonably well off like myself, giving their winter payment to more needy folk in Somerset. So I'm the first person to sign up to the scheme and hope others will follow suit." 

Community foundations and CVS’ are supporting their donors by setting up funds to connect people who want to use their allowance productively with those whose need is far greater. Bolton CVS’ remit is to broker such arrangements helping local people give to local needs; using their extensive local knowledge they help donors support charities and community organisations who can most effectively reach the people in need.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells is supporting the initiative in Somerset: “This is a wonderfully imaginative and innovative idea which deserves our full backing. It is a way of helping those in real need,” said Bishop Peter Price. “There is something slightly uncomfortable about receiving Government support for something as basic as winter fuel when you are not in need. My wife Dee and I will therefore be joining others who have decided to donate their Winter Fuel Payment to our local Community Foundation, who can use the money to help local people in real need. We'll also Gift Aid the donation, making it worth even more to the Foundation."

At the same time a donor in Leicestershire is encouraging fellow pensioners to donate their allowance by writing an opinion piece in the local newspaper. Paul Newman: “There are people in our city and counties who receive money from the Government that we don’t need if we are honest. We receive winter fuel payments; free bus passes, free prescriptions. For people like me this amounts to around £500 of money given to me by the Government every year untaxed. We could, if we wanted to, “redirect” that money with a tax credit to local charitable activities that are going to be hit by the cuts.”

Sir Terry Wogan is also supporting The Big Heat Fund set up by his local community foundation: “The Big Heat Fund idea is an excellent way for local people to help some of the most vulnerable older people in their area. I'll certainly pass my payment on, and encourage everybody who can, to contribute towards it.” 

Dame Joan Bakewell, said: “I think the Big Heat Fund is a brilliant idea. The winter fuel allowance is a vital payment for many people, but there are others like me who don’t want or need the payment. Giving part, or all of our unwanted winter fuel allowance to the fund ensures the allowance goes directly towards helping people combat fuel poverty.”

Roger Hayes, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Bolton called for the growing mass of pensioners who are being shielded from the cuts, to support those who are less fortunate than themselves and will find it hard to survive the coming winter. It is great to see support from those who can afford to donate but automatically receive the allowance, and we would welcome donations to support community groups and vulnerable people in Bolton too.

If you would like to know more or donate to The BIG Heat Fund set up by Bolton Community & Voluntary Services then please visit


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Faz P

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi I am Faz and am passionate about all things Bolton. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs and find them to be interesting and thought provoking. I would love you to add your personal comments to them. Dont...

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