Minister urges people to ‘Make the Call’ as cost of living crisis deepens

Date published: 12 August 2022

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is urging people to contact her Department to check their eligibility for financial support in the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Minister urges people to ‘Make the Call’ as cost of living crisis deepens
Minister urges people to ‘Make the Call’ as cost of living crisis deepens

Minister Hargey was speaking as she met with people who could benefit from the service as ‘Make the Call’ extends its outreach services across communities at a time when families, pensioners and workers are struggling with rising household costs.

The Make the Call service assists people in accessing a wide range of benefits and supports to which they are entitled but have not been claiming.

Joining the outreach team at Belfast’s Ormeau Road Library, where sessions have been arranged as part of a wider partnership with Libraries NI, Minister Hargey said:

“I am determined to do whatever I can to support people and families struggling to deal with mounting and inescapable financial pressures.

“The Make the Call service is designed to maximise benefit support and by bringing the service into communities, people can call in and talk with staff who can look at whatever assistance might be available to them.

“The team is available for confidential, face-to-face discussions and can guide you through the process and check possible eligibility. Last month of the 4,927 who made the call, 1,681 of them have been identified as having new entitlements to benefits and other support services.”

The Make the Call team is providing surgeries at local libraries including Bangor, Rathcoole, Grove, Ormeau Road and Derry Central as part of a wider partnership with Libraries NI.

“Libraries are at the heart of their communities and I am delighted that Libraries NI has joined with the Department as we extend our outreach efforts so that more people contact the Make the Call team to see if they are entitled to financial support, particularly at a time when people are struggling with increased energy, fuel and food costs,” added the Minister.

To 'Make the Call' you can phone 0800 232 1271; text ADVICE to 079 8440 5248; Visit Make the Call

Further Make the Call community clinics will be held at the following libraries:

  • Grove: Wednesday 14th September
  • Rathcoole: Tuesday 20th September
  • Derry Central: Tuesday 27th September
  • Bangor Carnegie: Monday 3rd October

Notes to editors: 

  • Photo caption: Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is pictured chatting to Make the Call outreach officer, Amanda Milne and a library user who spoke to the Make the Call outreach team in Ormeau Library - part of a partnership between the Department for Communities and Libraries NI.
  • The Make the Call Wraparound Service works in conjunction with a range of partner organisations such as the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), Housing Rights, Dementia NI and Carers NI.
  • Other supports available can include: blue badges for car parking or free bus passes; access to local groups to help maintain community connections and social independence; help with health costs; home safety checks; and assistance with reducing energy costs.
  • Press enquiries to DfC Press Office 
  • The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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