Rural residents are being urged to take advantage of a scheme to help them access financial entitlement and improvement schemes.
Larne mayor Councillor Maureen Morrow, who is an enabler with the MARA project, through the North Antrim Community Network, says that local people should avail of the programme before it concludes in the borough in December.
The MARA project is funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Public Health Agency to tackle isolation and poverty in rural areas.
To date, the team of enablers has visited more than 200 rural householders, some of whom have received financial benefits, grants for boiler replacements or home safety improvements.
Councillor Morrow said: “As an enabler, I have visited many homes in the Larne borough, some of which had no central heating or insulation, others where elderly people were finding it difficult to remain in their own home due to mobility issues.
“It was wonderful to know that from my visit, they received help to install central heating, have their home insulated or have safety handrails or a walk-in shower fitted which made such a difference to their comfort, and in some cases, allowed them to continue living in their own home. In some cases, they were able to access benefits, they did not realise they were entitled to.”
Enablers can complete a questionnaire to assess if a caller is receiving full pension or benefit entitlement; arrange for a home assessment for a referral to the ‘Warm Homes’ scheme; a home safety visit or assist with an application for a “smart pass” for free travel or put someone in touch with a rural transport scheme.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be able to avail of any of the benefits, services or grants offered through the MARA project to contact Liz Bird, at North Antrim Community Network, as there is only a short window of opportunity left for rural dwellers in the Larne borough to benefit from a visit by a MARA enabler before the programme winds down in the Larne area in December 2013.”
For further information, contact the North Antrim Community Network on 028 2177 1155 or 028 2177 2100. or email firstname.lastname@example.org.