Council to explore setting up oil club

MAGHERAFELT District Council is to investigate the possibility of setting up an oil club within the area.

Sinn Fein Vice Chair councillor Catherine Elattar proposed the move at the monthly meeting.

“We have all heard in recent weeks of the success of Glenravel Oil Club, which has been backed by local Ballymena Council,” she said.

“Residents of the area are saving approximately £100 off their annual oil bills. I was approached by local residents who were interested in setting up a similar scheme within the Magherafelt council area.

“I did some research on the project and found out that Ballymena Borough Council had given the group financial assistance, in addition to helping them set up and advertise the scheme initially. This has proven very beneficial, in that the group have been running the club successfully since.”

Councillor Elattar said poverty has become even more acute in recent times, with the effects of the ongoing recession and the rising cost of heating fuel. Research has shown that one of the greatest barriers to heating a home is the affordability of oil.

“Many of those on low incomes are often charged the highest price per litre for oil, as they may order lower quantities at a time or have to buy oil in drums, at an increased price,” she continued.

“By buying in bulk, every member of the club can make substantial savings, irrespective of whether they are ordering the minimum quantity or filling their tank. In addition to the obvious financial savings for members, community spirit can be enhanced as everyone works together to benefit the local area.

“It was encouraging that my proposal for council to do preliminary work on this initiative within the district received cross-party support within council. Fuel poverty affects everyone and we should be working together in order to ease the financial burden on our local communities. I look forward to progressing this proposal within council and to hopefully seeing a pilot oil club being set up within the Magherafelt area soon.”