“There is now a humanitarian crisis developing.”
The latest episode of ‘Because Caring Matters’, the podcast from Belfast Central Mission (BCM) has highlighted the very real issues facing hundreds of individuals and families across Northern Ireland as the price of household and personal items continues to grow.
Joanne McCourt is Project Manager for BCM’s Housing Support for Young People and Parent Support teams across the southern HSCT region and talks on the podcast about how the current crisis is affecting her team of support workers and those they strive to help:
“We have seen our service users struggle more than they ordinarily would, be it a young person, a working family, parent, or an older person. We are seeing huge increases in the cost of electric, heating oil, gas, petrol, food, which means a greater reliance on food banks which is leading to a dependency for many we support.
“The concern is that without an operational government, there is a humanitarian crisis developing. This is now beyond a political issue, and we really need to take action. I would love to see a return to the level of action taken at the start of the pandemic when there was a real focus and determination on helping the people of Northern Ireland.
The episode also includes the personal testimony of Stevie, a young woman who has been previously supported by BCM and has had to re-engage with the local service, Stevie said:
“It’s difficult because you have to budget for everything and having to prioritise whether I get fuel to attend my appointments, get groceries or electricity, which I can’t live without, but sometimes you find some months you have to let some things go, and it messes with your head and brings you down, trying to figure it all out.”
‘Because Caring Matters’ is a podcast aimed at highlighting the very real issues that affect those individuals, families and communities that BCM’s teams work with every day, whether dementia, mental health or the cost of living. Each episode provides signposting and external voices to allow listeners to further research relevant support networks.
This new episode – launched Friday, August 5th – also talks with a representative of the local Children and Young People Strategic Partnership (CYPSP), a network of charitable and community organisations working together to support individuals and families through times of need.
Joanne also highlights during the podcast episode:
“Over the years, the political rhetoric has been about encouraging personal responsibility so there is a stigma around poverty and having to ask for help, for someone to admit they are struggling. We wanted to be involved in this podcast so as we can encourage people to seek help sooner, to get in touch with us at BCM so that we can either help them directly or put them in touch with other organisations who can.”
‘Because Caring Matters’ can be found via online search engines, by visiting www.belfastcentralmission.org or by clicking one of the links below:
Belfast Central Mission
5 Glengall St