Children and young people are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has heard as she continues to meet with voluntary and community organisations.
The Minister today visited Belfast-based Kinderkids Daycare, Whiterock Children’s Centre and Upper Springfield Development Trust, which provide support to families living in some of the most deprived areas and supported by the Department through Neighbourhood Renewal funding.
Soaring food, fuel and energy costs are leaving these families in crisis, the Minister was told.
Paying tribute to the work of the community-based groups, Minister Deirdre Hargey said:
“I really value the support provided by organisations like Ashton Community Trust through Kinderkids, Whiterock Children’s Centre and Upper Springfield Development Trust.
“We know people are struggling and those costs are beginning to mount, that trajectory is upwards as inflation continues to rise – and there is no end in sight to this crisis.
“The services provided by the amazing teams here are a lifeline to so many children, young people and their families.”
“Families with children and young people are facing two months of increased costs as the school term comes to an end, many of these families cannot afford household bills or the cost of summer schemes or activities. They are at breaking point.
“I have been listening carefully to service providers, representative groups and to individuals and have tasked my officials to consider all possible options to provide much-needed support.
“I have recently provided £1,500 energy support payments to more than 160 groups including Kinderkids and Upper Springfield Development Trust; I have also reconvened the Emergencies Leadership Group in direct response to the cost of living crisis but more needs to be done to help people with this burden, which is being exacerbated by the lack of an Executive and no budget in place.”
The three community-based groups provide a range of services including childcare, community food support, mentoring, counselling, support for children with special needs, literacy and numeracy services and youth programmes – with tailored support for marginalised groups including minor ethnic communities, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities.
Notes to editors:
- Photo caption:Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey on a visit to the Upper Springfield Development Trust today where she met staff and service users.
- Kinderkids is a day care service provided by Ashton Community Trust, delivering affordable, accessible childcare service to local people, enabling parents/carers to remain in work or access training, employment and educational opportunities. They are supported by the Department for Communities through Neighbourhood Renewal funding.
- Whiterock Children’s Centre delivers a holistic service to local families to support with family life from childcare to cultural needs to specialist requirements for children including minority ethnic families settling in West Belfast. They are supported by the Department through Neighbourhood Renewal funding.
- Upper Springfield Development Trust are currently funded through the People and Place Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund to deliver a range of services across four separate projects in the Upper Springfield/Whiterock Neighbourhood Renewal Area. These four projects are Action Ability Belfast (AAB), USDT Youth Team, USDT Advice Service, and USDT Building Better Communities project including work around gender, sexuality and identity and disability services.
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