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New hardship fund set up for older people

Wednesday, 1st April, 2020 5:18pm

A hardship fund has been set up to help older people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Age Action and the Irish Red Cross have launched the Covid-19 Hardship Fund to support people experiencing difficulties meeting costs associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unexpected costs can put an added strain on older people and this fund will assist with the costs of increased food bills and associated delivery costs, replacing or upgrading essential small appliances, additional transport, energy or communication costs and the costs of additional safety or security equipment to enable older people to remain safe and well in their homes.

A statement from both organisations said that poverty statistics, from the CSO, indicate that 11.4 per cent of people aged 65 years and over were at risk of poverty in 2018 meaning they are not able to withstand the immediate economic impact of Covid-19.

The statement also said that people over the age of 65 depend on social protection for more than three-quarters of their income, for many older people the State Pension is often their only source of income.

Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action, said: “Older people are among the groups who are at high risk of the impacts of Covid-19 and we know some older people in vulnerable situations will need additional assistance and financial support, particularly as they cocoon over the coming weeks. We have designed this scheme to provide immediate practical relief to alleviate some of the day to day hardships they will experience due to Covid-19, such as increases in their living costs for additional shopping and deliveries, increased bills and transport costs for essential appointments.

“This fund will provide additional assistance to vulnerable older people around Ireland who are experiencing hardship as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic by making once-off grants, up to a maximum of €500, per person/household affected.”

Liam O’Dwyer, Secretary General of The Irish Red Cross said: “The focus of The Red Cross in Ireland is to ensure that people who find themselves in vulnerable situations have the capacity, with support, to be resilient and manage their own lives. Support like the Hardship Fund gives older people that additional capacity and our members are delighted to be of support in this very unusual time. We are really pleased to work with Age Action who are leaders in the area of independent living.”

The Covid19 Hardship Fund opened yesterday, 1 April, and will run for the duration of the corona virus health crisis in Ireland.

More information, and how to donate to the Hardship Fund, can be found at ageaction.ie or redcross.ie or by calling Age Action at 01-4756989 or the Irish Red Cross at 01-642 4600 or emailing Hardship2020@redcross.ie or info@ageaction.ie.

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