People looking to give credit where it’s due or at least where it’s needed most have been asked to “share the warmth” by diverting some or all of the €600 energy rebates announced as part of Budget 2023 to the St Vincent de Paul.
The Share The Warmth charity initiative is the brainchild of Dublin business woman Sine Dunne who launched the campaign in the wake of Tuesday’s budget. She is hopeful it will raise tens of thousands of euro which can be used to support families who will be struggling to keep their homes warm and bright in the dark winter months ahead.
“I felt I had to do something because the energy credits are not being means tested. I can understand why that is the case as it means the money can be distributed much faster but that doesn’t take away from the fact that some people need that money more than others.”
Ms Dunne told The Irish Times she had set a target of less than €2,000 but expressed confidence the initiative would surpass that by many thousands of euro.
“Irish people are very generous and there is a huge amount of evidence pointing to that generosity so I know people who can afford to share their energy credits will do it.”
She highlighted research from the GoFundMe platform – where the donations can be made - which suggest that Irish people have finished on top of its giving charts every year for the last three years.
The Energy Credit announced by the Government earlier this week will see three credits of €200 attached to domestic energy bill between now and next spring.
Ms Dunne, who worked for Google for many years before leaving the company to set up Siest Sleep, a businesses selling her own patented weighted pillows less than two years ago, said she was confident many people would choose to pass on their credits to others who need them more.
Her target audience “is anyone who can answer yes to the question ‘Is there a family out there who needs the energy credit more than I do?’.
She said she was hopeful people will donate the full credit if they can afford it either in one lump sum or in three instalments, although she said understands that some people may choose to pass on a partial credit and donate a smaller sum.
“For many people the credit will make a massive difference but for others it is effectively free money,” she said.
Ms Dunne said the campaign will run through the winter until the last of the energy credits have been applied to customer bills in March or April of next year.
“Our focus is on people who are doing everything possible to look like nothing is wrong. You truly never know what is going on in someone’s life. People living in Ireland are proud. Only when they hit rock bottom, do they ask.”
She said that 100 per cent of all the donations will go directly to the St Vincent de Paul (SVP) adding that she had picked that charity because it is “the first port of call for working families who don’t know where to go.”
Daniel Alvey of the SVP expressed the charity’s gratitude for the “wonderful idea that those who might not need their energy credits share them with families who are really struggling”
He said that there was “a ring-fenced fund here for donations to help with energy poverty and every cent received will be spent on energy vouchers that can be redeemed against bills from all the main providers”.
He said the charity was “seeing the highest level of calls for help in recent history due to the cost-of-living crisis and rising food and energy costs. If not for the generous actions of people like Sine and those who support this fundraiser these families would be in the dark.”
Donations can be made at here.