The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation’s Winter Warmth Campaign

A case study for London's Giving - March 2015

The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation’s Winter Warmth Campaign

About the campaign

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea remains full of harsh contrasts with an eleven year discrepancy in life expectancy between different parts of the Borough. Fuel poverty is a major challenge for isolated older people. It is not uncommon for as many as 40 older residents to die of cold-related illnesses.

Each year since 2011 the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation has run the Winter Warmth Campaign to address fuel poverty among the elderly of the Borough. The Foundation works closely with 3 partners, Age UK Kensington & Chelsea, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Nucleus Legal Advice Centre to give grants to individual residents in need to pay their winter fuel bills.

The campaign asks older residents who are in a position to do so to donate the Winter Fuel Payment they receive from the government. It has also been successful in raising awareness of fuel poverty more broadly and engaging donations and support from the wider community.

Spreading the word

The annual campaign launched in mid-November just as people over 65 were receive their £200 Winter Fuel Payment from the government.

  • The Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea hosts a reception to launch the campaign at the Mayor’s Parlour, with a past beneficiary speaking about the difference that support from Winter Warmth has made to them.
  • 30,000 leaflets are distributed to targeted households, shops, restaurants and GP surgeries.
  • Letters are sent to all previous donors and Foundation Friends and Patrons.
  • Coverage in local press included The Kensington Magazine.
  • For several years the Winter Warmth campaign has benefitted from the collection at the community carol service organized by DMG Media at St Mary Abbots.

The total cost of the campaign is approximately £5,000, which we have been able to cover from designated donations and a £1,500 contribution from the Councils Small Grants Programme. This enables us to promise that 100% of all individual donations will be passed on to older residents most in need.

This year the campaign has been expanded to include awareness raising among young people, including school choirs performing at social events and presentations to school assemblies. As a result, one school has raised more than £2000. Holland Park School’s Design & Technology students were given a brief to design draft excluders, which were judged by the Design Museum. Age UK members attended an intergenerational tea party at the school to meet the young designers.

The impact

The success of the campaign grows year on year, with £39k raised in 2013/2014.
This translated into 83 grants to individuals of a maximum of £500 per person. The monies are paid directly against fuel bills and not to the individuals. When the payment is made, the handling agency will also make sure they are receiving all the correct benefits and will support them in other ways such as assisting with changing fuel suppliers or installing insulation.

125 individual donors supported the campaign in 2013/14, 59 who were new.

“The clients of the Income Maximisation Service at Kensington CAB received exceptional help from the Winter Warmth Campaign and their need was met immediately diverting any further problems or dire consequences such as fuel disconnection or the client cutting back on the usage of heating. Our clients often have complex health problems as well as very limited funds and it is essential in maintaining their well being that they have adequate heat to keep them warm as they are a vulnerable group most at risk, where hospital admissions can be prevented.”

Kensington CAB

We are nearing the end of the 2014/2015 campaign, but look set to match last year’s success. Nonetheless, the Foundation recognizes that it is still scratching the tip of the iceberg and that there remains untapped potential for generating more support through the Winter Warmth campaign.

Future Plans

The Foundation will review further activity after the General Election in May 2015. However, irrespective of any future Government’s decision about the universal Winter Fuel Payment benefit, The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation plans to continue to make isolated and vulnerable older residents a particular focus over the winter months, having raised awareness for the challenges they face over the last four years.

The lessons

  • Partnership has been key to the success of the Winter Warmth campaigns. The Foundation has a close relationship with its delivery partners and relies on their expertise to get the money to where it is most needed.
  • An investment of £5,000 is needed to cover campaign costs (design, print and districution). This was met by specific local funders so all public donations were passed directly to residents
  • New elements have been added to the campaign each year as additional opportunities have become apparent to the partners
  • The campaign is about awareness as well as money – the new schools element in 2014/15 has achieved both

To find out more about the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation see the overview Director Diana Spiegelberg’s gave of the organisation’s work for London’s Giving’s launch event here, or visit