AN appeal has been launched for people who do not need the money to donate their winter fuel payment to people who are struggling.

People in Ludlow and south Shropshire who are comfortably off are being asked to consider donating their allowance to those in greater need.

Age UK Shropshire Telford and Wrekin set up a scheme four years ago to help older people who experience difficulties paying gas or electricity bills.

The scheme invites those people who can manage to pay their fuel bills without the winter fuel payment to donate it to Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin who can pass in on to local older people who really do need it to keep warm this winter.

According to a survey by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Shropshire is thought to have as many as 19,135 homes classified as fuel poor, this equates to 14.6 per cent of all households in the county. Even more alarming, the report states that in 2014/15 there were 191 excess winter deaths in Shropshire, 2.5 times the national average.

“We have seen an increase in calls to our Information and Advice team from those who are struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills and faced with living in a cold home this winter,” said Heather Osborne, Chief Executive of Age UK in Shropshire, Telford and the Wrekin.

“Nearly 50,000 homes are off the mains gas grid resulting in more expensive heating fuels, such as oil, LPG and electricity. The Surviving Winter Grant Fund gives another option for people wanting to donate, knowing they will be helping someone in need.”

To donate to the local charity call Age UK Shropshire Telford and Wrekin on 01743 233123.