Absolutely Fabulous star backs Radlett charity campaign

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley - Credit: Archant

A famous actress has urged anyone who receives a certain benefit to donate it to a Radlett charity this winter.

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley - Credit: Archant

Joanna Lumley has thrown her backing behind Donate your Winter Fuel Payment campaign, which asks anyone who does not strictly need that allowance to apply anyway and instead transfer it to charity Small Acts of Kindness - which supports thousands of older people in Hertfordshire.

The Government benefit, which is not means tested, is between £100 and £300 and available to people over 65.

This extra cash will fund the charity’s Warm in Winter gift bags, which are reusable tote bags full of practical items including a fleece blanket, thermal hat, gloves, socks, a mug and a pack of heatable food.

Distributed for free to anyone over 55, they also contain an information pack with details of local activities and services.

Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley said: “It is a little shocking that we have so many older people who are actually 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.

“It isn’t possible to automatically have this payment redirected to someone more needy, although I know that an awful lot of people would want to - so I would absolutely urge anyone who gets this benefit, but doesn’t need it, to donate it to the charity Small Acts of Kindness, so they can distribute thousands more Warm in Winter gift bags to older people this winter, and actually save more lives than they are usually able to.”

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The majority of over 65-year-olds are eligible for the minimum sum of £100, but anyone living alone and over 80 is usually entitled to the maximum sum of £300.

CEO of Small Acts of Kindness, Lynne Misner, said: “This winter is predicted to be one of the coldest winters in decades and we will distribute over 5,000 practical Warm in Winter gift bags. Now, with the support of Joanna and other people in donating their payment, we could help considerably more people who are in dire need of help each winter.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show during the winter of 2016 to 2017, about 34,300 vulnerable people died across the UK from cold.

Donate at www.smallactsofkindness.co.uk