Stay warm with oil stamp saving scheme

Launching the stay Warm oil stamp savings scheme are (centre): Larne Mayor Gerardine Mulvenna and Paddy Stewart (third right) from St Vincent De Paul with (from left): Julie Parkinson from LBC Environmental Health, Patrick McGrath from Mace, Seacourt; David McGregor from Vivo, Craigyhill; Sinead Kelly from LBC Environmental Health; Derek Reid from Howdens and Judith Tweed and Rosemary Dunbar from Tweed Fuels. INLT 31-327-PR

Launching the stay Warm oil stamp savings scheme are (centre): Larne Mayor Gerardine Mulvenna and Paddy Stewart (third right) from St Vincent De Paul with (from left): Julie Parkinson from LBC Environmental Health, Patrick McGrath from Mace, Seacourt; David McGregor from Vivo, Craigyhill; Sinead Kelly from LBC Environmental Health; Derek Reid from Howdens and Judith Tweed and Rosemary Dunbar from Tweed Fuels. INLT 31-327-PR

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A FRESH fuel budgeting initiative is being rolled out across Larne Borough following a successful pilot project in Whitehead and Islandmagee.

The ‘Stay Warm’ oil stamp saving scheme is a partnership between Larne Council and St Vincent de Paul with support from the Public Health Agency.

It enables householders with oil central heating to spread the cost of their fuel. They simply buy a £5 oil stamp as often as they like and save them on the card provided. These stamps can be used as full or part payment of the cost of their next oil delivery.

Speaking at the official launch, Mayor Cllr Gerardine Mulvenna explained: “Larne Borough Council have been concerned for some time at the high levels of fuel poverty in the borough and are aware that with the rising fuel prices householders are finding it very difficult to budget for their oil fill”.

Staff from the Environmental Health Service consulted with members of St Vincent de Paul who were running an oil stamp scheme in Ballymena. Initially the scheme was piloted in Whitehead and Islandmagee, where since its launch has sold over £9,700 worth of stamps. This indicates that the scheme is very worthwhile, hence it was decided that it should be rolled out across the whole borough.

“Seventy per cent of households in Northern Ireland use oil to heat their homes. With the significant increase in oil prices and the many households experiencing financial pressures, this method of saving and budgeting is more important now than ever”.

Larne Borough Council and St Vincent de Paul expressed their appreciation for the support of participating local retailers and oil suppliers, who were represented at the launch. They welcomed the initiative, recognising the positives in this helpful budgeting method and the appeal it would have to the public.

Anyone visiting one of the four retailers in Larne can ask at the counter for detailes about the ‘Stay Warm’ scheme.

Saving stamps is easy:

• Collect an oil stamp savings card from a participating retailer

• Complete the name and address section as soon as the card is received (using the address the oil is delivered to)

• Purchase £5 oil savings stamps from participating retailers in the district

• Place stamps onto oil savings card

• When a householder wishes to purchase heating oil, they contact their preferred supplier (from the list of participating oil suppliers on the back) and let them know the amount of oil required and the value of stamps saved

• A card, or a number of cards, can be used as payment or part payment towards your heating oil. Partly completed cards will be accepted.

For further information contact Environmental Health Service at Larne Borough Council on 028 2827 2313.

You can now buy stamps at: Post Office, Main Street, Larne; Glynn Post Office, Vivo Linn Road and Seacourt Mace. You can still buy stamps at Nearbuy Ballycarry, Carnlough Post Office and Island Stores Islandmagee.

Oil Suppliers currently in the scheme include Howdens, Hayes Fuels, Tweed Fuels, East Antrim Fuels, Star Fuels, Meekin Fuel Group, Nicholl Oils, WR Kennedy Fuels and Alan Murphy. Many more oil suppliers will also accept the oil stamps as payment or part payment for oil, customers are recommended to check with their local supplier.