With the number of Lagan Valley families facing financial problems reportedly on the rise, the next Assembly must tackle food poverty as a priority.
That’s according to Alliance’s Trevor Lunn, seeking re-election as Lagan Valley MLA in the upcoming Stormont poll.
“Over the past couple of years,” he said, “my constituency office has seen an increasing number of individuals and families who are having financial difficulties. That may have come about as a result of loss of a job, delays or cuts in benefits or the breakdown of a relationship.
“An immediate consequence of these difficulties is the lack of money for basic food items. Many families find it difficult to ask for help from a foodbank but for many others the it can provide a valuable breathing space to allow the financial problems to be dealt with.
“All requests for help from a food bank are handled sensitively and confidentially; so no-one should feel embarrassed coming forward.
“The next Assembly has a real chance to help reduce the dependency on food banks by continuing the good work started in improving the training and employment opportunities available.
“Many thousands of young people and unemployed adults have benefitted from these opportunities and found meaningful jobs to help support their families.
“Improving our economy can impact on many aspects of life, including health and wellbeing, and must feature high in the programme for government priorities.”