Almost 200 families helped by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council fuel support scheme

A Northern Ireland council is using Covid cash support reserves to help families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has helped 180 families who are struggling to heat their homes.

The council launched a fuel support scheme and those in need can apply for the energy support through the charity St Vincent De Paul. Patrick Friel from the charity said people were suffering.

"It is incredible," he told UTV. "Families faced with impossible choices. De Paul will make a home visit and carry out an assessment of need. We'll decide how much oil we can allocate given the need. "We've seen significant increases in requests for help with clothing, food and oil. People's budget's don't go as far as they used to," he added.

Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Barry McElduff, explained how the council can afford the scheme.

"The money came from Covid reserves. The council got permission from the Department of Communities to dip into the Covid reserve so we found £250,000 for a cost-of-living package. "

A total of £80,000 has been allocated to support local households with home heating. It is hoped around 400 families will receive help.

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