Belfast Telegraph

Stay warm and healthy, say community groups

Stay warm, stay healthy — that’s the message from community groups taking part in an energy advice day at Whiterock Leisure Centre next week.

More than 21 groups from north and west Belfast are taking part in the initiative organised by the National Energy Action NI (NEA) to provide free advice and guidance on the best way to keep warm and be energy efficient at home.

Leisure centre manager John Dunne said: “We are delighted to be hosting this event which is timely as colder weather approaches. It is all part of our community outreach programme which is encouraging Belfast to be a healthier city.

“Keeping warm is vital for people of all ages, but particularly older and more vulnerable people. The advice and guidance is free of charge and now is the time to be getting prepared for autumn and winter, whether it is ideas on how to cut energy bills, saving to pay for them or having your home insulated.

“Local community groups are backing the initiative because they know how important it is to get the message out and how vital it is to accept the help that is being given.”

The event will run from 10am-2pm on Thursday, 30 September.

Project co-ordinator Angela Gracey said: “NEA is the fuel poverty charity in Northern Ireland which campaigns for warm homes. We manage a project funded by Investing for Health called Northern Exposure which aims to tackle fuel poverty in North and West Belfast.

“We deliver free energy efficiency measures to householders in North and West Belfast through NIE and NI Sustainable Energy Programme. We also provide energy efficiency awareness information and advice to community groups to help build capacity in North and West Belfast to tackle fuel poverty.

“This event is for members of the public of all age groups and many organisations will be there to showcase their services and facilities.

“We are working together to provide the local community with information and advice on fuel poverty; energy efficiency grant programmes; community safety; health and benefit checks as well as other health related advice. “

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has highlighted the Warm Homes scheme which can make homes warmer and more energy-efficient.

Mr Dodds said: “There are two levels of help available. Warm Homes offers a range of insulation measures including cavity wall and loft insulation and a hot-water-tank jacket.

“Warm Homes Plus can also provide the installation of oil or gas central heating where no system currently exists. There are a range of qualifying benefits for each level .

“This is an excellent scheme and I would encourage residents of privately owned properties to check if they are eligible to benefit from it.”

For further details visit the Warm Homes scheme visit www.warm-homes.com or telephone 0800 9880559.

More information on the energy advice day can be found at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/leisurecentres or www.nea.org.uk

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