Cumbria charities 'winter warmth' campaign supported by victims of Storm Arwen

A number of families in Cumbria who received compensation for last week's power cuts have donated the money to the winter warmth appeal.

Those affected received up to 700 pounds. Cumbria Community foundation will give it to elderly residents struggling to heat their homes.

When Storm Arwen hit Cumbria on 25th November, more than 118,000 homes were left without power. Hundreds were still without power a week later.

For many residents, they relied on family, friends and neighbours and it brought home how important a warm home is.

It meant Cumbria Community Foundation, which runs the annual Winter Warmth Appeal, were approached by people who want to donate their compensation to those who struggle to keep warm.

Over the last five years, an average of 300 people have died in Cumbria from cold-related illnesses, the majority over 60, because they cannot afford to keep their heating on.

The appeal works in partnership with Age UK across the county and Copeland Age & Advice Service to award the grants of up to £250 to help keep vulnerable older people warm and well over the colder months.

It was set up in 2010 for people who receive the government Winter Fuel Payment to recycle it if they don't need it.

In that time, more than £1.2m has been raised. Last year, thanks to people's warm generosity donating £200,000, more than 1,500 Cumbrians were helped to pay fuel bills.

He continued: "If anyone who receives compensation really does feel they can spare some or all of it, we can recycle that money and help someone who will be dreading the cold weather and deciding to either huddle in one warm room or go without a hot meal. It really is as stark as that."