Plans for community oil club in the Larne area

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A community oil club looks set to be established in Larne thanks to funding secured from the Public Health Agency.

The scheme has been made possible thanks to a grants scheme set up by seven local councils within the Causeway Coast & Glens and Mid & East Antrim area.

The first phase of the scheme resulted in nine oil clubs being launched following the success of a pilot oil club started in Glenravel in October 2012.

Additional funding has now been secured from the Public Health Agency to allow further roll out of the scheme to other communities within the council areas of Ballymena; Ballymoney; Carrickfergus; Coleraine; Larne; Limavady and Moyle.

Geraldine McGahey, chief executive of Larne Borough Council, said: “Oil clubs allow communities and local oil suppliers to work together to make sure that people can better afford to keep warm and well.

“Community bulk-buying schemes mean people can save money even when ordering smaller quantities, and demonstrate the power of partnership working between local government, the Public Health Agency and the local community in improving quality of life of our citizens.”

By combining orders from participating members, the oil club negotiated prices with oil suppliers to get the best price. This enabled smaller deliveries to be made to individual members at competitive prices that may not have been available to those outside the scheme.

Glenravel Oil Club member and chair of Glenravel and District Community and Residents’ Association Marion Maguire said: “The scheme has been a real success in Glenravel.

“We have found that single parents, low income households and pensioners in harder to heat, older properties are benefiting from buying smaller quantities of oil at competitive prices, therefore saving money and budgeting better for other essentials.”

The club says that bulk-buying means that savings can be passed on to members whose fuel costs are high “simply because they have oil-fired central heating”.

Interested groups can apply for a grant of £700 to cover the set up costs involved in establishing an oil buying club in their own area. The deadline is January 31 2014 at 4.00 pm.

For more information or an application pack, contact the environmental health department at Larne Borough Council on 028 2827 2313.