‘Warm Homes’ Packs distributed in Cookstown

COOKSTOWN District Council have launched the distribution of ‘Warm Homes’ packs to help the vulnerable in society get through the Winter months.

Cookstown Council’s Chairman, Councillor Tony Quinn, launched the distribution of the ‘Warm Homes’ Packs.The packs consist of a number of essential items to help stave off the impact of the cold, during the long winter months. Included in the pack are thermal socks, gloves and blankets and other essential necessities to help those most in need stay warm this winter.

The ‘Warm Homes’ packs were launched in conjunction with the ‘Spread the Warmth Campaign’ in association with Age NI. Cookstown District Council and Age NI want to encourage people to think about the issues of keeping warm this winter particularly as people grow older. Currently 83% of older people living alone in Northern Ireland experience fuel poverty. In Cookstown District 21% of pensioners are living in poverty. Many people struggle to leave the house in extremely cold and icy conditions and do not see anyone for weeks. Over 250,000 older people in NI worry about staying warm and 191,000 people over 60 say that loneliness is a major problem.

Councillor Tony Quinn said he was delighted to support ‘Spread the Warmth’ Campaign within Cookstown District and would encourage family, neighbours and friends to check up on elderly and vulnerable people during the winter period.

The purchase ‘Warm Homes’ packs was funded by the Public Health Agency, who have stipulated specific criteria for their distribution. In order to receive a ‘Keep Warm’ pack, the following criteria must be met.

(1) Be experiencing Fuel Poverty

(2) NOT have received A ‘Keep Warm Pack from a different source AND

(3) Fall into one of the following five categories:

(a) Adult with an underlying cold-related illness or illness that makes them more vulnerable in the cold, eg.

Asthma, Chronic bronchitis or emphysema, Coronary heart disease, Stroke and TIA, Disability that makes them less mobile,Any long-term condition that worsens in the winter.

(b) Homeless person (ie. sleeping in overnight shelters or on the street)

(c) Dependent children

(d) People 65+ and living alone

(e) People over 70.

The Council,in Partnership with a number of Statutory and Voluntary bodies, have made arrangements for distribution of the 400 packs, based on the criteria provided.The representatives of a number of the Partner Agencies who attended the Launch were delighted with the Council’s support, particularly as the cold weather starts to take a hold.

Council’s Chairman, Councillor Tony Quinn commented: “Unfortunately there are many in our society today for whom heating their home is a real struggle. In particular, those who are elderly or in vulnerable households, where hard decisions have sometimes to be made in the choice between “heating or eating. It is hoped that these packs will help in some small way to alleviate some of this hardship this winter”.

If you require any further information on the ‘Warm Homes’ Packs, or would like to make a referral, please contact Council’s Community Support Officer, Louise Liggett, at Tel. No. 028 867 62205.