MANY families in the Coleraine borough are already going cold because their oil tanks are empty and there is no money to fill them, according to East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat.
This week Mr Dallat appealed to people to put their hands deep in their pockets to support voluntary organisations such as the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and the Salvation Army who are doing their utmost to assist those in greatest need throughout the constituency.
Mr Dallat told the Times: “The statutory bodies such as the London government at Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly have yet to grasp the seriousness of fuel poverty and how it is impacting on families, especially those with young children and older people who need constant heat to survive.
“It has fallen to the charitable organisations to help out and in parishes throughout East Derry they are doing just that but both Saint Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and other voluntary groups are limited by the among of money they can raise through collections and other fund-raising events.
“In the lead up to Christmas the pressures on families on low incomes is always great but this year the cost of heating oil has added enormous hardship to the budgeting problems.
“I would appeal to everyone to consider the above organisations and others of their choice and make a special effort to donate to them because I know from my experience that they are a shining example of Christian charity in times of need.”