Muintir na Tíre, along with STEP Insulation, have expanded the qualifying criteria for their free home insulation scheme, greatly increasing the number of Tipp homes eligible for upgrades.
The scheme used to be available only for households receiving the fuel allowance, but now is also available to households either on Job Seekers Allowance for over six months and with a child under seven years of age, or households on the Family Income Suppliment. In addition to these rules, the household must have been built before 2002, and not owned by the Local Authoirty.
Muintir na Tíre is a non-profit organisation working in conjunction with STEP Insulation, Galbally Road, Tipperary to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of elderly and vulnerable people. The project is funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme and provides for 300 Tipperary homes each year.
In addition to their work with STEP, Muintir na Tíre have been visiting and repairing the homes of the most vulnerable in West Tipp since 2009. Liam Kelly, helped start the Tipperary Community Safety Project to stop the practice of “con men visiting older people just to rip off the piping”. He was provided with some FÁS volunteers , and they began visiting the homes of the elderly around West Tipp to paint,decorate, replace locks and doors, and other necessary jobs.
“There’s a hidden Ireland full of citizens living in poor conditions” said Mr. Kelly. “A lot of these homes hadn’t been in years, and some still even had the old two-pronged power sockets. The elderly have a lot of pride and won’t ask for help, They wouldn’t admit they needed a hand, and even if they had there were no means to do anything about it”
One volunteer’s sole job is to seek out and visit the homes in need of help. Mr. Kelly said Public Health Nurses were very helpful in finding the most in-need homes, as they were in regular contact with the elderly residents. When the volunteer did visit a home, it would often take a couple of hours before its resident could even be convinced to allow Muintir na Tíre make the repairs.
“If we could get more resources we could certainly do more” Mr. Kelly said of their funding. The group’s workers are volunteers and all funding goes towards equipment and materials. Each home costs somewhere between E500-2000 to bring up to standard. Funding for materials comes from the Local Authority, the home-owners themselves, and the HSE’s Community Welfare division, though their involvement has decreased due to cutbacks.
If your home meets the qualifying criteria and you wish to have it insulated at no charge, contact STEP Insulation, Galbally Road, Tipperary at (062) 82575. Lines are open daily between 10am and 1pm.