Saving for winter warmth in a Laois town

St Vincent de Paul scheme to combat 'fuel poverty' launched in Mountmellick

Saving for winter warmth in a Laois town

By Lynda Kiernan lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie@laoisnews

A savings scheme to help people stay warm in their homes throughout the winter is launching in Mountmellick.

Mountmellick St Vincent de Paul is only the second conference in Ireland to introduce the Stay Warm scheme. A pilot programme was launched in Kildare two years ago and proved a big success.

Anyone will be able to buy the €5 savings stamps in participating local shops.

People can then fill out a savings card, and later redeem these for heating fuel from a list of local suppliers.

Bobby Delaney from Mountmellick St Vincent de Paul explained why they are launching the scheme.

“When we call to people at home in the winter, we can feel how cold the houses are. I saw this scheme and thought it was a great idea. There are no gains made by the shops, and anybody can use it,” he said.

St Vincent De Paul's Jimmy Scurry is the project manager.

“It may be a traditional way of saving, similar to the TV License Stamp saving scheme, but it can be a huge benefit to people who do not have banking facilities,” he said.

“It is making a real difference for families and households who really struggle to manage their heating bills. We are thrilled that Mountmellick has picked up on it, it may now be rolled out nationally.

“We have found it very successful in Kildare, often adult children will buy cards for their elderly parents, or people will fill a card and give it to our conference and then we give it to a family,” he said.

The stamps can be purchased from this Wednesday June 14, in Mountmellick post office, Emmet Stores, McConvilles SuperValu and Watchhornes.

The Stay Warm fuel suppliers include those three supermarkets which sell briquettes, coal and bottled gas, with 20L of home heating oil also sold in Watchhornes.

Also accepting stamps are local fuel suppliers Smyth Fuels who will supply home heating oil (min €200), and Brian Mulligan supplying turf (3 tonne trailer loads). The cards may be used part completed, and as part payment for fuel. They cannot be redeemed for cash.

The scheme will be officially launched in Wolfe Tone Court on O’Moore Street this Tuesday night, June 13 at 8pm, all welcome.

The project is funded by the Dept of Communications, Climate Action & Environment and by the Society of St Vincent de Paul, supported by SEAI and MABS.

For further information call 086-0666488