£600 Energy Support Payment: appeal launched across Northern Ireland to help those most in need

The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland has launched an appeal asking people who are fortunate enough to be able to pay their bills to consider gifting some, or all of, the £600 Energy Support Payment to help those who need it most.

The Energy Support Appeal has been launched as the release of the first round of payments is released from the Energy Support Scheme aimed at assisting households with soaring fuel prices.

Vouchers are starting to be posted out to energy customers who don’t pay their energy bills by direct debit. The mailout of the vouchers is taking place in tranches over the next four weeks and will be completed by the end of February.

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The public are asked to make a donation to the Energy Support Appeal to help those most in need.

Róisín Wood, CEO of the Community Foundation said: “The cost-of-living crisis is impacting right across our society with many now struggling to heat homes, buy food and pay rent.

"Some of our poorest families are left with £29 per week after essential items are paid for and are in real risk of being plummeted into desperate circumstances.

"Every household in Northern Ireland will receive an energy payment of £600 under the Energy Support Scheme to help with electricity and fuel cost. For many this is a much-needed form of support, however there are those who may find they don’t need this payment.

"The Energy Support Appeal from the Community Foundation will be able to receive these donations and ensure that they make a real impact by making grants to those who are working on the ground to mitigate the worst effects of the cost-of-living crisis.

Róisín Wood, CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland

"Over the past six months we have already allocated £500,000 to help tackle the cost-of-living crisis, funding groups such as The Trussell Trust, Good Morning Ballymena, Loughview Community Action Partnership and Limavady Community Development Initiative. We will continue to work to support those in need. Many of our grant schemes remain highly oversubscribed, such are the demands of this crisis.

"We understand fully that many households will need and use this payment at this time. However, we want to provide an opportunity for those that don’t need all or part of this payment to support others. Donations can be made at communityfoundationni.org or by contacting us at 028 9024 5927.

"The Community Foundation will use your donation to make a real difference to people’s lives by supporting charities and groups working to help those struggling this winter.”

Through the Good Morning Ballymena initiative, £4,900 was awarded to supply electric over-blankets to those over 80 years of age. According to Good Morning Ballymena this age group are amongst the most vulnerable members of the community. 80 per cent of these members live in the most deprived areas of Ballymena and rural areas, are all on fixed income (pension) and almost 40 per cent are living in poverty.

In north Belfast, the Loughview Community Action Partnership was awarded £5,000 to support senior citizen's groups living in poverty having to make the choice of eating or heating and in the coming months. The partnership is supporting older people to keep warm, by providing vouchers towards gas, electricity and oil.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Energy Support Appeal can find more information here.