The Hopkins Winter Crisis fund will distribute £35,000 to Cambridgeshire with more than £13,000 already having been given out as small grants to individuals in the form of fuel vouchers and direct assistance with energy saving measures.

Alongside individual grants, organisations helping vulnerable groups will be supported with grants of up to £5,000 which can be used to provide hot meals, fuel vouchers or other measures to alleviate the pressures facing people this winter.

One such organisation is Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough which has been given grants totalling £7,198 from the fund to support warden schemes it operates throughout the county.

Warden schemes, such as the one in Ramsey, offer support to elderly people living in their own homes, through a daily phone call or home visit. The warden can assist with tasks such as shopping, filling in forms, making phone calls or just poping round for a chat and a cup of tea. The warden is also able to refer clients to other support agencies such as a handyman service or they can alert family members or health care providers if they have concerns about the client's wellbeing.

Andy Morris, chief operating officer for Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, said: "There's always a high demand for our services but during cold weather this increases markedly as our elderly clients are more likely to struggle due to higher than usual fuel bills; greater risk of falls and other winter associated illnesses; greater risk of isolation and issues when discharged from hospital.

"The support from the Hopkins Winter Crisis Fund has ensured we can keep up with demand and help more of our elderly residents to remain in their own homes."

Joshua Hopkins of the Hopkins Charitable Fund said: "The Winter Crisis Fund was always intended to alleviate some of the additional challenges and pressures faced by vulnerable people when the temperature drops. The warden schemes are an excellent initiative to help support older residents, helping them with household tasks and providing a point of daily contact should they need further assistance from medical or social services."

The fund is administered by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation. The other warden schemes to receive funding from the Hopkins Winter Crisis Fund are: Horseheath, Balsham, Weston Colville, West Wratting, West Wickham and Castle Camps.

Individuals must be referred though their local authority or by voluntary sector organisations. For more information on the grants visit: www.cambscf.org.uk/hopkins-homes-winter-crisis-fund.