Council helps locals to turn up the heat

Banbridge District Council Chairman, Councillor Marie Hamilton, helped turn the heat up for homeowners at the launch of the ‘Keep Cosy’ Oil Stamp Saving Scheme.

The launch took place at the Civic Building last Thursday in the company of the Public Health Agency, members of Banbridge Poverty Forum and representatives from community and statutory agencies.

This new scheme, which is managed by Banbridge District Council operates through 11 local retail shops at present. Customers can purchase Keep Cosy £5 oil stamps and attach these to a Banbridge District Council ‘Keep Cosy’ Oil Stamp Saving Card.

These will then be used to make payment or part payment for an oil delivery from an oil distributor participating in the scheme.

Banbridge District Council will then reimburse the oil distributors for the oil stamps.

Oil stamp schemes have been proven to help households cope with the problem of fuel poverty.

A household is said to be in fuel poverty if more than 10% of income is spent on heating the home.

Northern Ireland has the highest prevalence of fuel poverty in the UK, with the 2013 estimate indicating that 42% of households in Northern Ireland are experiencing fuel poverty.

Similar schemes are operated by a number of councils and voluntary groups across Northern Ireland and have been successful in helping many people, particularly the elderly, in budgeting for the purchase of a fill of oil for their tank.

To date feedback of the schemes has been very positive and has been welcomed by retailers and oil suppliers.

Speaking at the launch, Councillor Hamilton commented; “Banbridge District Council recognise that in order to tackle fuel poverty effectively there is a need to adopt a wide range of approaches.

“This Oil Stamp Saving scheme will assist people to manage their income to help them heat their home. Home heating oil is more cost effective when bought in larger quantities, so saving over time is better than ordering small amounts. Retailers currently in the scheme include Centra Filling Station Banbridge, Centra Banbridge, Maxol Service Station Banbridge, Spar Banbridge, Supervalu Banbridge, Dougies Day Today Gilford, Nisa Gilford, Harry’s Country Store Kinallen, Doherty’s Costcutters Loughbrickland, Barbican Supervalu Rathfriland, Milestone Service Station Rathfriland.

Other retailers interested should contact Banbridge District Council on T: 028 4066 0606.