Iceland has expanded its partnership with the Rothesay Foundation to support some of the 1.7 million pensioners who live in poverty in the UK and rely on the state pension and benefits for their income.
The campaign will run for seven weeks from 1st August until 16th September, providing eligible pensioners with a £30 Iceland gift voucher to spend in 1 of 17 areas nationwide, encompassing 269 Iceland stores.
The areas have been identified as the places where there are some of the highest numbers of pensioners living in material deprivation in the country.
It follows the pilot community campaign in the London borough of Lambeth across nine stores, which helped older people in the area who are managing on low incomes to enjoy Christmas.
The expansion to a total of 269 stores will give over 40,000 people the opportunity to spend a voucher in store and alleviate some of the pressure caused by the worsening cost-of-living crisis.
Iceland is providing the vouchers at zero profit, to allow the total fund to be available to as many people who are in need as possible.
The partnership was initially launched following research by Age UK which shows that 1.7 million pensioners were living in poverty in 2020/21, which is 15% of all pensioners.
Over 770,000 pensioner households (single people or couples) are also missing out on Pension Credit payments, worth around £1.5 billion every year. Pension Credit not only gives older people extra cash, but once claimed it can also unlock other financial help towards the cost of living such as a free TV licence, free NHS dental treatment and help towards energy costs through the Warm Home Discount, if eligible.
With the cost-of-living crisis, the Rothesay Foundation and Iceland are also working with Age UK to highlight ways that older people can claim all of the benefits and support they are entitled to in order to help them cope financially in these difficult times.
As part of the Summer Cheer campaign, copies of Age UK’s information guide on financial advice to help older people and their carers will be sent to eligible pensioners along with their voucher.
Iceland is helping older people in need in other ways too. In May, Iceland launched a weekly over 60’s discount across all their stores, that provides customers with 10% discount every Tuesday, when ID is shown.
If you qualify for a £30 voucher with the Rothesay Foundation, the over 60’s discount can also be used in conjunction with this, to help make your money go further.
Eligible pensioners should call the Summer Cheer hotline on 0800 098 7877 to request their voucher. The telephone line will be open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland Foods, said: “Since the launch of the partnership last Christmas, the cost-of-living crisis has taken hold of the UK, and now more than ever, people are struggling to access the food they need.
“No one should ever have to worry about how they are going to eat or drink, and we hope that the support we can offer across the UK will help pensioners access and enjoy a worry-free meal during this difficult time.”
Addy Loudiadis, of the Rothesay Foundation, said: “We hope our vouchers will provide a small amount of relief to the growing number of older people living in real financial difficulty in the UK.
“Going forward, we are committed to working with brilliant partners like Iceland and Age UK to help as many pensioners as possible get access to their full benefit allowances”.
Hannorah Lee, Director of Partnerships at Age UK said: “Many older people are really worried about soaring food and energy prices and are facing impossible choices such as whether they can afford to buy fresh food or turn their heating on during the colder weather.
“At the same time over £1.5 billion benefits go unclaimed by older people every year.
“We encourage any older person who is worried about money and thinks they might be entitled to some help to contact Age UK by calling its national advice line, free of charge, on 0800 169 65 65 (8am-7pm), visiting www.ageuk.org.uk/money, or contacting their local Age UK for free information and advice.”