Food banks are vital lifeline: McClintock

The Mayor, Councillor Brenda Stevenson pictured with organisers and volunteers at the launch of the Christmas Food Bank in the Guildhall before Christmas.
The Mayor, Councillor Brenda Stevenson pictured with organisers and volunteers at the launch of the Christmas Food Bank in the Guildhall before Christmas.

Waterside DUP Councillor Hilary McClintock says local food banks provide a vital service after a Christian charity said 5,224 children in Northern Ireland relied on them last year.

The Trussell Trust, which is dedicated to the alleviation of food poverty, released a regional breakdown of foodbank usage in 2013/14, which showed 6473 Northern Irish adults had also used the facilities giving a total of 11,697 users.

Mrs McClintock of the DUP spoke highly of local foodbank schemes, saying: “They provide a vital service to people at times of particular crisis sometimes allowing them to pay towards other essential bills.”

Food banks have been needed more and more recently, with Mayor Brenda Stevenson mentioning them in her Christmas message.

Cllr Stevenson said in her message “we can all make a difference this Christmas.”

Locally, The Rotary Club runs a citywide food bank based in London Street. The Rotary Foyle Food bank served 12,000 meals in its first six months to almost 1,500 people.

The rate of those using the foodbanks is far higher than the rate of new foodbanks opening and crisis awaits.

Chairman of the Trussell Trust, Chris Mould, described the statistics as “the tip of the iceberg”, noting they don’t paint the full picture.

Mr Mould refers to those using other emergency providers, eating less or living in an area without a foodbank.

A recent DEFRA report has claimed that “increased foodbank use is not a question of supply, but of meeting a real and growing need.”

The Trussell Trust’s mission is to develop, run, and enable communities to replicate sustainable projects that combat poverty and exclusion, sharing our experiences to raise awareness of the issues.