Older people over the age of 65 in Cork are being urged to post their application forms for a one-off hardship grant from the Irish Red Cross and Age Action Ireland today.
The original closing date for application was due to be August 31, however, due to oversubscription and a surge of interest in the last number of days the closing date has been brought forward to tomorrow April 24. That means forms must be posted today.
The grant of €500 is for any practical needs arising from additional costs associated with Covid-19 such as higher heating costs, food delivery, storage costs, communication support costs to connect with loved ones, like the purchase of smartphones.
Over €25,000 from the fund has already been allocated to applicants.
“Early on in the crisis we asked Government to consider a once-off pension top-up for those solely dependent on the state pension," CEO of Age Action, Paddy Connolly said. "Fuel costs, repair of crucial appliances such as fridges, boilers, and communication devices are vital, and these are the primary focus of the fund.
“The demand for these tells us that the Government needs to do more for older people struggling as a result of Covd-19.”
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said up to 1,000 people in Cork alone have expressed interest in the fund, however, not all of them have returned their forms yet and he is urging them to do so today.
He also called on the Government to support the initiative if there’s a funding shortage.
“I think the initiative is brilliant, but if there is a funding issue the Government should step in," he said. "This is a really positive grant for elderly people. At a time when they’re the most vulnerable to be able to give them a television or a phone so they could talk to their friends or relatives, or for people who are struggling financially.
"This €500 grant will make a major difference to people who need it."