A scheme to help householders in the Roe Valley budget to heat their homes has sold £750,000 worth of fuel since it was introduced.
The fuel stamp savings scheme started in December 2011 and is delivered by the charity, Limavady Community Development Initiative (LCDI).
The reach of the scheme includes clients in the former Limavady Council area, although it also extends to other areas where LCDI deliver other services, including Park and Claudy.
LCDI manager, Joanne Kinnear, explained the scheme is funded by a grant of £5,000 from the Public Health Agency with the rest of the shortfall in the running cost, approximately £15,000, being picked up by the charity.
“Limavady Community Development Initiative (LCDI) are proud to announce the sale of their 150,000 fuel stamp which means that £750,000 of fuel has been purchased through this community-led project,” said Ms Kinnear.
The scheme starts with LCDI printing watermarked fuel stamps each of which has an individual code. The stamps are then passed on to local shops in the greater Limavady area for sale at face value to local people in local communities. The stamps are then used as full or part payment for fuel (oil, gas or coal) through local fuel providers.
Ms Kinnear said the scheme is “considered a model of best practice” in terms of the statutory, private and community sectors “working together to address the need for local people to be able to budget to ensure their homes remain warm all year round”.
“The project would not be possible without the commitment from all the partners to work collaboratively for the greater good,” said Ms Kinnear.
She said while the financial commitment required presents an ongoing challenge, the charity’s management board is committed to ensuring the continued delivery of the service. She said they’re convinced the social impact of the scheme far outweigh any financial challenges associated with its administration.
Ms Kinnear said what’s beneficial for customers is they don’t have to worry about getting big fuel bills. It allows them to budget, she said, which is important “especially in times of austerity”.
“Being able to know that regardless of your income there is a way you can heat your home without worrying about large bills dropping on the doorstep brings great peace of mind,” said Ms Kinnear. “LCDI know the importance this scheme has in allowing local people to be in control of their household bills something which although important to everybody has a special importance in times of austerity.
The stamps come in £5 units and can be purchased by the individuals directly or by a friend or relative. Ms Kinnear said while there’s no actual profit for local shops they report “it boosts their own shops sustainability as it increases their footfall with most people purchasing something additional when they are in buying a fuel stamp”. Call 02877765438 for information.