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Fiona in the studio make-up room

We chat to Fiona Phillips on the set of our new TV advert to find out what the Spread the Warmth campaign means to her.

Hello Fiona, can you tell us what’s going on today?

Today we’re in a very cold studio (oh the irony!), somewhere in London, near Waterloo I think, getting my make-up ready to record Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign TV advert.

It’s getting colder out there so older people are getting colder and some of them can’t afford to warm up.

How’s the campaign going to make a difference?

The Spread the Warmth campaign is appealing to people to donate to help Age UK do its job.

They’re helping older people by giving financial help, support with heating bills and just going around being a friendly face and a friendly neighborly type – the sort of person we’d all like to be, but in this frantic world most of us aren’t anymore.

Donations will help older people feel warmer, happier and less lonely this winter.

What does it mean to you?

Well I’ve been an ambassador of Age UK for a while now and the reason I am is because I’m just very passionate about older people actually.

I think they’re very much treated as a separate species and that’s why I say ‘older people’, not ‘the elderly’ or that sort of thing, because it just compartmentalises.

We’re all heading that way you know, people become old, unless they’re very unfortunate, so I’ve always been very passionate about that. Hearing some of the stories it really is heartbreaking.

People might have had children, achieved things in their lives and they’re full of wisdom and experience, but they're sitting on their own and they’re cold and terribly, terribly lonely. It’s heartbreaking.

How can people help?

What we’d like people to do is donate £10, or any amount would be nice actually, but £10 will go a long way and it will really, really help older people this winter feel less cold and lonely.

And what else is happening in the world of Fiona Phillips?

Oh there are loads of things going on actually and I’m going a bit mad! I write a lot, there are a few TV things bubbling and simmering. I tend to do a lot of campaigning as well.

Add comment


  1. Debra Sautner

    18th Apr 2014 Hello Fiona, I am a member of the Norfolk and Suffolk dementia Alliance,we are being trained to become Dementia Care Coaches,Champions, and Mentors, Dementia Awareness Week is coming up in the middle of May, we would be greatly honoured if you could simply mention that fact in any of your programmes during that week,it is usually between May 16th to May 23rd,
    We are simply trying to raise awareness in the public,if you could just mention Dementia awareness week and ask people to become Dementia friends.we ask for nothing else as we fully know how busy you must be.yours sincerely, Debra.
  2. susan olsen

    6th Jul 2013 i would like to get in touch with Fiona Phillips, I would be grateful if you could get this email/message passed on to her. My mother passed away 8 weeks ago at 91yrs old, she had dementia, i looked after her with my brother in her home for 5 years whilst holding down a full time job in the NHS as a manager, i fought with social services etc to get her into a home without success (she didn't own her home and was under the financial 23k thresh hold). I dealt/battled with an NHS hospital in A&E on a multitude of occasions. I know the system inside and out with social services and anything else you can think of. I very much want to get things changed for other dementia sufferes and their families, stand up & be counted and use my knowledge & skills. My mobile is 07776348026 or via email. many thanks Susan Olsen
  3. Age UK

    13th Feb 2013 Hi Leslie,

    That's great news - thank you for your support. You can either donate by direct debit online (just put the amount you want in the 'amount of your choice' box) or you can call our customer services team to donate: 0800 169 87 87

    The line is open between 8.30am and 5.00pm.
  4. leslie green

    13th Feb 2013 I would like to donate say £2 by standing order.
  5. Age UK

    21st Jan 2013 Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for your comment - you don't mention where you live, but it might be possible for your local Age UK to send someone round to look at your boiler. Find their contact details here: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/about-us/local-services-search/?keyword=&UserSetLocation=London

    Or call our free advice line: 0800 169 6565
  6. barbara lambert

    20th Jan 2013 I wonder if my boiler can be looked at? when I turn it on its okay for a little while but then goes red and starts flashing

    best regards
    Barbara Lambert
  7. Age UK

    15th Jan 2013 Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your comment. As part of our Spread the warmth campaign, we are lobbying the Government to make preventing winter deaths a priority.

    You can find out more here: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/spread-the-warmth/campaign-to-prevent-winter-deaths/
  8. Michael Thompson

    15th Jan 2013 Ive been campaigning for pensioners rights to a decent State pension for over 20 years and im still not a pensioner.

    Celebs with the media in the palm of their hands should challenge our politicians on the rights of the elderly to receive a decent State pension. And quash all this unafforadilty rubbish. We are a very rich country and our pensioners have largely all paid into the system though their working lives.

    All this charity work on behalf of pensioners is patronising. We simple dont revere our elderly people in this country like European country's do. 20, 000 elderly people die of cold every winter because they dont have enough money to live on, yet money goes out of this country like a dripping tap. And we as a nation do nothing. You couldnt make it up.
  9. Age UK

    14th Jan 2013 Hi there Keith.

    Apologies if you're getting emails from us that you no longer want. We've forwarded your details to our Customer Services team and they will be in touch to make sure you're completely removed from our mailing lists.

    We're sorry to hear about your personal situation, too - if you haven't already, it might be worth calling our free National Advice Line on 0800 169 6565, because your circumstances might have altered to an extent that you are now entitled to more help.

    And thank you for getting in touch - we do try not to delete comments. We'd never improve as an organisation, if we ignored the negative stuff.
  10. Keith

    11th Jan 2013 I cannot find a "contact us" page on your site so I will have to ask you here not to keep sending this info to me. I did try to unscribe but you still send me this useless rubbish.

    I am 75, live alone in a big house and in the winter months I live in just one room downstairs because I can no longer get upstairs safely. I use just one radiator in this room in order to keep the energy bills down so that I can pay for my cheap frozen meals, the rest of the house is left cold. I have my bed, TV, computer, books, record player etc in this one room. No family left, and few friends who don't bother with me.

    I did ask for Council Tax Benefit, but couldn't get it. I asked Age Concern several times if they could help or suggest what I should do; their response was negative.

    The last thing I need is for you to keep sending this drivel about making donations, volunteering and generally helping you. I'm too old to volunteer to help people who are possibly younger and fitter than me! As to making donations; you shouldn't be asking old age pensioners for money, we need every penny we can get out of this Govt to survive, especially as it now looks like some of us will be losing the Winter Fuel Allowance soon.

    Please take my name OFF your mailing list because any further emails will be marked as "spam" and deleted. The same goes for any letters of leaflets shoved through my door.

    Fiona Phillips has no idea what it is to be cold! ...
  11. Age UK

    11th Jan 2013 Hi Mike. We’re really sorry to hear about your situation and that you haven’t managed to get the support you were hoping. You don’t say where you live, but I assume you have tried contacting your local Age UK and the gardening and phone calls you’ve had have come via them.
    Unfortunately, although we try to help as many people as we can, sometimes we just do not have the funding at a local level to provide the services that people desperately require. Many of our local Age UKs have been hit extremely hard by the cuts to local authorities, and they are trying to do as much as they can on a very limited budget.
    Our suggestion would be to contact our free National Advice Line on 0800 169 6565 and explain your situation to one of our advisers. Good luck and thanks for commenting.
  12. mike

    11th Jan 2013 i am housebound with a lung desease.i have tried to apply for help from age uk(using the gardening sector at £20per hour)i also applied for home visits but got 3 2minute phone calls per week.i to live on my own and seldom see anyone as my family live to far away.age uk goes on about how much it does for the eldery,but in fact it does little other than run age uk as a business,and not a charity as it claims to be...m
  13. Julian Pirog

    4th Jan 2013 I am 49 and earned a very good living until I got very ill. It humbled me and I hope others will donate whatever they can even if less than the suggested amount. I still think myself lucky in many ways so will be making a donation.
    I remember coming to visit my parents on my way home from work and they would be wearing coats and hats instead of putti g the heat on. They were from another generation which made them feel bad if they claimed any help. These are the type of people who have their youth up for our freedoms and our still high standard if living when you compare how little they had in every regard.
    Please dig deep. Look in your penny pots and give as much or as little as you can for these people. They are too proud to ask.
    Thanks for reading this. If interested my Dads story is at. Http://www.janpirog.com. A real hero yet would not put the heating on because they never wanted to be in debt.

    Kind regards and a happy new year



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Frank - how he was affected by winter