Online applications have opened for the £100 Spend Local pre-paid voucher and the Commissioner for Older People is asking people to ensure older friends and relatives don’t miss out by spreading the word of the scheme or providing assistance to those who need help with their application.

A dedicated phone service will be in operation from Monday 11 October, to assist those who either don’t have access or are unable to operate the online application service, but individuals can also apply on behalf of up to three people.

Speaking about the scheme, the Commissioner for Older People, Eddie Lynch said:

“The £100 spend local card will be a significant boost to many people and it’s really important that older people do not miss out because they are either not aware of the scheme or are unsure how to apply. I would ask that everyone is mindful of older relatives, friends and neighbours especially those who may lack the skills or resources required to use the online portal to obtain their card.

“I would encourage people to apply for their older family and friends where needed, provided they have been given permission to do so. A telephone service will be available from Monday 11 October, and I have been assured the contact number will be widely publicised in due course.

“Unfortunately, there will always be those who will seize any opportunity to steal from individuals and I want to remind everyone to be vigilant. I am aware of cold callers who have been claiming to help people with applying for the scheme and requesting bank details. At no point during the application will you be asked for your bank details, nor should you receive cold callers to your door claiming they can assist you with the process.”

Anyone who thinks they have received contact which may have been a scam should contact Action Fraud. You can follow the ScamwiseNI Facebook page for more information on