Warmth and Wellbeing scheme in Dublin 24 and 12 extended to include children

By Mary Dennehy

A PILOT project running in local communities, which provides energy-efficiency upgrades to older people with respiratory problems, has been expanded to include children – after an additional €10m was this week pumped into the scheme.

In June of this year, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources started the Warmth and Wellbeing scheme, a pilot project running in Dublin 24 and Dublin 12 that is examining the impact of improving the energy efficiency of a person’s home on their health and wellbeing.

Houses aerial

Initially the scheme, which had a budget of €20m to upgrade 1,000 homes in Tallaght, Walkinstown and Crumlin, targeted people over the age of 55 who, in energy poverty, have asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – and whose household is in receipt of the fuel allowance.

Under this criteria, 147 people qualified for home improvement works which, costing in the region of €20,000 per house, has been mostly completed.

However, The Echo has learned that the scheme has received an additional €10m – and has been expanded to cover young children, aged 12 and under, with respiratory problems.

It is expected that 500 family homes in Dublin 24 and 12 will benefit from the expansion.

Welcoming the expansion of the scheme, Dublin South West Independent TD, and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone said: “The New Year will also see a huge expansion when families who have children with respiratory problems or asthma will also qualify.

“Under the means-tested scheme, the work, for those in receipt of Fuel Allowance or the One Parent Family Payment, will be carried out for free.

“Work will be carried out on homes to improve temperature, energy efficient and air quality.”

She added: “This should cut days out of school, hospital visits and incidents of sickness for our children.

“Official figures show that children with asthma and other respiratory problems miss an average of 10 school days each year because of illness.

“The piloting of this scheme in our communities has been a success. Health and Wellbeing is an example of how the Government can improve the lives of people of all ages by taking preventative action.”

During a visit to the home of a recipient of the first phase of the scheme in Firhouse, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, said: “Taking action on climate change isn’t just about helping the planet.

“As this scheme will demonstrate, upgrading energy efficiency makes our homes warmer, more comfortable and leads to less reliance on medication and health services.

“It also displaces expensive imported fossil fuels with local jobs in construction industry.”

Applications for this scheme are through referral by a local healthcare professional.

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