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Minister launches guide to help older people stay warm and save money this winter

Published 22/12/2015

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OFTEC and Age Action launch second winter campaign for older people 

OFTEC Ireland, Age Action and Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Older People, officially launched a free guide, offering key advice to help older people using oil home heating to stay safe and warm throughout the winter period. 

OFTEC's David Blevings with Minister Kathleen Lynch and Age Action's Justin Moran and Breda Sargent

The guide, which is being distributed throughout Ireland, was created by OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland, in conjunction with Age Action. 

Following the success of the campaign which launched for the first time last year, Minister Lynch is once again lending her support to the campaign to highlight the important issue of excess winter deaths and raise awareness of how those at greatest risk can keep safe and warm this winter. 

Serious threat

Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State: “With harsh winters posing a very serious threat to the health and wellbeing of older people across Ireland, it’s essential that older people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills low and stay warm and well over the winter months. I’m pleased to once again support this guide which not only provides money saving tips, advice on energy efficiency and oil tank security, but also information on heating payments and schemes for older people. It also contains useful phone numbers and general guidance on staying warm and is a must have reference guide for all older people throughout Ireland.” 

Age Action will be distributing the guide throughout its network of offices and shops and the guide is available free of charge. Alternatively, a digital copy is available to download from both the OFTEC and Age Action websites. 

David Blevings, Ireland Manager of OFTEC, said: “We’re delighted to launch this campaign with Age Action, now in its second year, and work with the Minister on this important project to support older people who use oil heating. Approximately 600,000 homes in Ireland use heating oil as their primary heating source so we feel it’s vital to provide older people with as much information as possible to help them save money and keep warm through the coldest part of the year.” 

Stay warm and save money

Eamon Timmins, Chief Executive of Age Action said: “Many of the most vulnerable older people rely on oil heating to keep warm. But with high numbers of older households struggling to afford the fuel they need, it’s essential that people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills low and stay warm over the winter months. Following the success of the winter campaign last year with OFTEC, we are relaunching the guide to ensure the most vulnerable people in our society have access to important information on how to stay warm and save money this winter. We are delighted to support this initiative for a second year and work with OFTEC to continue to promote health and wellbeing for older people across Ireland.” 

OFTEC is working with Age Action to provide community information sessions on how to stay safe and warm this winter and save money through Age Action Ireland’s Lifelong Learning groups. The sessions will provide first-hand advice and personal guidance on how to keep warm efficiently this winter, with a Q&A opportunity and tips on household energy saving from OFTEC representatives. 

David Blevings added: “With oil prices at a six year low and the cheapest form of home heating in Ireland, we want to help as many people as possible continue to save money with oil and have made this information available online through our Oilsave website. However, we were very aware that this may not be reaching the most vulnerable group, older people, which is why we’ve worked with Age Action to produce the guide.” 

“There are also grants available under the Better Energy Homes Scheme from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for those with older, inefficient oil boilers and the details are contained within the guide and our registered technicians can help older people to take advantage of the grants while they are still available to reduce energy costs and improve energy efficiency.” 

For more information visit www.ageaction.ie, www.oftec.org or www.oilsave.org 

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My Legacy Month

My Legacy Month is an initiative for the month of November during which My Legacy and their 65 member charities ask the public to consider leaving a legacy gift in their will to a charity they care about. But what exactly is this? It is simply a gift, something that you can give after you have made provisions for loved ones or family members in your will.

 

At Age Action we recognise that every legacy gift we receive means that we have been remembered by someone in their will and so it is particularly meaningful to us. We welcome the financial benefit, which helps us continue and develop existing services or can kick start innovative new initiatives, but more importantly the gift is evidence that the person believes that we have, or can, make a positive difference in the lives older people in Ireland.

 

One of the largest legacies Age Action received, to date, was just over €100,000 which helped us strengthen our Care and Repair service to provide practical support and social contact to older people with the aim of helping them to remain living in their own homes, for longer, in increased safety and comfort. Age Action understands that as people get older, maintaining their home can become more difficult, particularly if they are experiencing mobility issues. Simply changing a lightbulb or weeding the garden can be challenging and paying someone to do it can be expensive for people who depend on the State Pension. 

 

We also receive regular smaller legacy gifts, which are just as important and meaningful to us and highlight that anyone can plan to include a cause close to their heart, like Age Action, in their will regardless of the size of their estate.

 

Caroline O’Connell, Head of Fundraising at Age Action says “Leaving a legacy gift to Age Action means that we can continue to make a difference for Ireland’s ageing population, in your memory.”

 

To find out more about My Legacy including how to make a will to ensure that your wishes are carried out you can visit mylegacy.ie or if you want to talk about how your legacy gift could make a difference to Age Action you can contact Caroline at headoffundraising@ageaction.ie.