A local charity’s annual campaign to support people struggling to stay warm in winter has broken its record after raising almost £20,000.

The Shropshire Rural Communities Charity (Shropshire RCC) Warmer Winter Appeal has raised £19,711 so far – its most successful to-date since the appeal began in 2011.

The money will be given out as grants for emergency fuel and energy-saving improvements to people living across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

While anyone can support the campaign, the charity particularly asked people who receive the Winter Fuel Payment and who felt like they didn’t need it to consider donating it.

The appeal was also supported by community groups, trusts and foundations, including Weston Power Distribution’s ‘In This Together – Community Matters’ Fund.

Julia Baron, CEO of Shropshire RCC, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to the individuals and groups who have generously supported our Warmer Winter Appeal and helped us to raise more than £19,000.

“We knew that the appeal was needed more than ever, but we recognised the unprecedented times that we were, and are still, living in and that this year it might be difficult for people to lend their support.

“We have been blown away that people have continued to donate to our appeal and that new supporters have chosen to get behind it. As a result, dozens more people will receive our help and be able to keep warm for many winters to come.”

More than 16,000 households in Shropshire and almost 8,000 Telford & Wrekin are living in fuel poverty, figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show.

A large number of homes in the county are also ‘off gas’ so fuel choice is limited and can be expensive.

Shropshire RCC partners with referral agencies to find people most in need and provide them with insulation, draft exclusion and other energy saving measures.

It also works to raise awareness about how households can make simple changes to reduce their costs while still keeping warm.