As winter sets in, people are being urged to check in on elderly neighbours who are living alone.

ALONE, a charity that supports older people, launched its Cold Weather Initiative today, which aims to highlight that winter can be a particularly difficult time for those living on their own.

The charity says that staying warm must be a priority for the elderly, and is advising older people to keep the heating on in the winter months, make sure to have enough fuel supplies and to eat regular hot meals.

"A lot of older people at this time of the year really struggle with the heat bills but they have to prioritise it for health reasons," said ALONE CEO Sean Moynihan.

"If they are struggling, they have to know that organisations like ALONE are there to help. If they have problems with bills or utilities we will help them sort that out," he said.

The organisation is also encouraging people to look out for older members of their community, saying: "If older people can't get out, we need to reach in and support them."

The Cold Weather Initiative, launched in Dublin this morning, is supported by Dublin City Council's Community Development Section and Butlers Chocolates.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring said the purpose of the initiative was to remind people "in the great spirit of Dublin tradition and sense of community, knock at the door, say hello, see do they want a few messages. It's just to make sure that they know that they're not alone this Christmas, and the people of Dublin will reach out to them and say if you are there alone, we are here as well."

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