Last year, Church Action on Poverty NI (CAP-NI) formed a partnership with Home-Start Antrim, Antrim Borough Council and South Antrim MLA, Danny Kinahan, to help vulnerable young families ensure that they had a warm home over the Christmas period. The shocking reality for many families living in the Antrim Borough Council area is that they faced a stark choice in the run-up to Christmas – heating or eating. The increasing cost of home heating combined with rising living costs and record low temperatures placed some young families in a desperate predicament.
It is against this backdrop that CAP-NI set up a central fund to help families identified by Home-Start Antrim as in need of practical assistance with heating bills. Individuals, churches, community groups and businesses contributed to this important fund and made a real difference to the lives of families struggling to heat their homes. Indeed, Margaret Thompson, Scheme Manager at Home-Start Antrim said of the impact of the campaign: ‘we had phone calls from so many of the families, really, really thanking us/you for this most welcome gift; they were overwhelmed. I had two mothers on the phone in tears, they did not know what they were going to do to have a warm Christmas, they just had no money for oil especially’.
This year, the scheme will be extended to the Newtownabbey Borough Council area and will include new partners, such as Newtownabbey Borough Council, Abbey Sure-Start, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (Antrim and Newtownabbey) and Newtownabbey Methodist Mission.
Our aim is simple – to help as many vulnerable families and individuals over the Christmas period as we can. With your help, we can achieve this ambitious goal; that is why we are contacting you to ask you to consider making a donation to the ‘Heat or Eat 2011 Campaign’. No amount is too small, so please consider supporting the campaign; all of the money received will be used to purchase fuel for the needy – any administration costs will be borne by the constituent members of the campaign. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Church Action on Poverty-NI’ and sent to our Hon. Treasurer, Rosemary Mateer, together with the tear-off slip below: