Pensioners and people on benefits urged to help keep Milton Keynes homeless warm during winter

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Milton Keynes pensioners and people on benefits are being urged to donate part of their Winter Fuel Payment to help homeless people keep warm.

The plea from the Citizen-backed Cornerstone Appeal, aims once again to raise thousands of pounds over the festive season for local good causes.

One of the priorities is helping reduce homelessness, with the message ‘We just can’t walk by’ from the organisers.

Nine main charities and 30 other schools and voluntary or community organisations will benefit from this year’s appeal, which is aiming to beat the 2016 total of £27,000.

Flagship events will be the intu Christmas gift wrapping service, which runs outside Debenhams from Friday December 1 to Christmas Eve, and collections at all of the main Advent and Christmas services at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone.

Other events include daily carol singing sessions in intu concourse, a craft fayre and a sponsored walk.

During the six years it has been running, the appeal has amassed a bumper £95,000 for local charities.

Set up initially to focus on Christmas giving, it now runs all year round and already has a successful flower festival, held in September, under its belt.

People are urged to give what they can afford and local businesses have been approached for contributions.

“We’re determined to break all previous records with the Cornerstone 2017/18 appeal,” said a spokesma

The nine main charities are the Bridgebuilder Trust, CAFOD (clean water for Africa, Citizens’ Advice, the MK Hardship Fund for ex-servicemen, The Hollie Foundation for childhood Alzheimer’s, Open Door homeless help organisation, MK Snap for young people with learning difficulties, Tools for Self Reliance , and the YMCA. There will also be 30 smaller organisations

The one-off Winter Fuel Payment from the government is £200 for people under the age of 80 and £300 for those over 80. You’re eligible if you you were born on or before 5 August 1953. You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you receive the state pension or another benefit, such as Pension Credit (but not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support or Universal

To donate, email or phone 07803 036 656. All such payments will go to the city’s Open door project and the YMCA.