The Belfast Food Network today unveiled the first ever piece of a Belfast-specific research on the devastating impact of food poverty in Belfast at the launch of the new Enough is Enough project, funded by the Public Health Agency. The launch took place at Belfast City Church (12-24 University Avenue).
The study which aims to collate data on the provision of emergency food and supplement it with qualitative data on the experiences of front-line professionals who work directly with clients affected by food poverty as well as their clients’.
The initial results of the study show a staggering increase in poverty levels in Belfast, emphasising the severely detrimental impact of food poverty on families and young children, as well as highlighting the increase in the numbers of working people requiring emergency food.
Belfast now counts eight food banks with three more under development (an increase to 11 from approximately seven in December 2013). Forthcoming changes in welfare benefits may deepen an already alarming crisis.
Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy, Advice NI, said: “Increasing numbers of families need emergency food support and more working people find themselves queueing for a parcel at a food bank. It is a shocking indictment on our society that young children’s life chances are being damaged as family budgets are pushed to the brink.”
Kerry Melville, Coordinator at the Belfast Food Network, echoes: “The Enough is Enough project will provide a baseline for what is happening around food poverty in Belfast. It is appalling that people end up unable to feed themselves in an affluent society so it is time to address the matter seriously.”
“The Network provides an ideal forum to harness the expertise of advice workers, food banks, community and faith-based organisations, health and social care practitioners and strategic bodies operating in the city to address the issue collectively.”
Find out more: Enough is Enough Infograhic