Dromore groups part of new poverty forum

Dromore charity Via Wings and St Vincent de Paul in town are among the agencies represented on a newly launched forum aimed at alleviating poverty throughout Banbridge District.

According to the district Council, who launched the forum as a follow-up to a local conference last year, it will facilitate improved collaborative working among agencies and provide a stronger voice on the issue in the district.

Struggling residents will be able to avail of practical support, as well as a istening ear.

Represented on the Banbridge District Poverty Forum so far are Banbridge and District Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Banbridge District Council, Banbridge Social Security Agency, Homestart Banbridge, St Vincent de Paul Banbridge, St Vincent de Paul Dromore, The Storehouse (formerly Banbridge Community Foodbank) and Via Wings.

Speaking at the launch, Banbridge District Council Chairman, Councillor Marie Hamilton, said: “It is clear there are so many more people today who are struggling to make ends meet. The effect of the economic downturn has had a lasting impact on young people, older people and families, those living in towns, villages and dispersed rural areas.

“To those who lose their jobs or whose incomes have fallen compared to rising prices, to those who must choose between heating and eating, who cannot afford to buy their children what other families have – these individuals and families have faced and continue to face stress, worry, fear, uncertainty and a feeling of failure.

“However, thanks to the organisations involved in this forum, local people can receive support when facing these difficult life situations. Help with food, heating, clothes, furniture and other practical support as well, as a listening ear and a helping hand, can literally in some situations be the difference between life and death.

“By coming together through Banbridge District Poverty Forum there is the potential to work more effectively, to work collaboratively, to avoid duplication and to maximise the impact on the neediest in the district.”

The Banbridge District Poverty Forum is to meet up to four times a year and any organisation seeking information or wishing to attend should contact Community Development Officer Robert Stockley on 028 4066 0643 or email robert.stockley@banbridge.gov.uk