Demand in North for emergency food parcels increases

More than 11,000 people received three-day support packages over past year

Chief executive of Advice NI Bob Stronge: ‘Recovery is a long way off for many people across Northern Ireland.’ Photograph: PA

Chief executive of Advice NI Bob Stronge: ‘Recovery is a long way off for many people across Northern Ireland.’ Photograph: PA

 

The organisation that operates most food banks in Northern Ireland provided more than 11,000 adults and children with three days’ emergency food and support during the past 12 months.

The Trussell Trust saw an increase of 489 per cent in the number it helped during its financial year.

Independent food banks

The organisation Advice NI said it was also aware of other independent food banks set up to help people in the greater Belfast and Ballynahinch areas.

Bob Stronge, chief executive of Advice NI, said: “We don’t have the exact figures yet, but it is clear that there are a significant number of community organisations and churches who are providing food to those in need.

“At least 16 organisations across Northern Ireland distribute emergency food and other goods on a regular basis. 14 of these identify themselves specifically as food banks, although they may also be engaged in distributing other goods such as clothes, toiletries and furniture.”

Advice NI said some people had been forced to use food banks because of delays in the welfare benefits system.

Debt advice

The organisation also claimed there had been a dramatic increase in the numbers seeking debt advice.

Mr Stronge said: “We have been hearing much about economic recovery. Unfortunately, this recovery is a long way off for many people across Northern Ireland.”

PA