Advice NI Concern about the Growth of Food Banks in NI

Advice NI launched a report entitled ‘Turning the Tide’ which highlights the rapid increase in the number people seeking help from emergency food providers and calls for action to address the root cause of hunger in Northern Ireland.

 Speaking ahead of Advice NI’s Annual Meeting, Chief Executive Bob Stronge said:

“We acknowledge and pay tribute to the work of food banks in helping people with literally nothing to feed themselves and their family. However we believe the time has come to examine more closely the reasons why, in a relatively affluent society, we have people who cannot access a nutritionally adequate diet”.

The report highlights a number of stark facts including:

  • At least 11 food banks have opened in NI in the last 12 months;
  • Trussell Trust food banks in Northern Ireland fed 1,538 people in the period April – June 2013;
  • The reasons why people needed help from food banks included unemployment, benefit cuts and delays; indebtedness, illness and disability; an inability to budget and manage money;
  • The help provided by food banks often takes the form of a parcel of emergency, non-perishable food sufficient to cover 3 days.

The Advice NI report reflects on the international context, particularly in North America, where campaigners are calling for adequate levels of wages and social security benefits so that demand for food banks declines and emergency food providers eventually cease to exist.

Similarly Advice NI is calling for more research into the food bank phenomenon aimed at understanding the causes of food poverty and for independent advice services to be strengthened in Northern Ireland to help people to maximise their incomes, better manage their money and mitigate the more negative aspects of welfare reforms.

 To read the full report click Turning the Tide