Nicholl welcomes cross-party effort to tackle poverty this Christmas and beyond

Alliance Belfast City Councillor Kate Nicholl has welcomed a cross-party commitment to supporting local organisations aimed at tackling poverty and helping those in need throughout the festive period.

Speaking after a special meeting, which saw a proposal pass to enable the Council to direct funds to leading charities struggling to cope with demand this Christmas, Kate said the problem won’t end come December 25, but rather a bigger plan to tack the impact and cause of poverty was needed.

“Like many I was moved to tears by the accounts of toddlers forced to hide toast in their nappies to ensure they had access to food later that day. In 2020, this is shocking, distressing and absolutely unacceptable,” she said.

“That’s why is it important we listen to those in the advice sector and let them guide us in what is needed over the coming weeks – and it’s not just food. People are also in need of gas and electricity, white goods, presents for children and many other items.

“Our amendment removes the one-size-fits-all attitude to this issue, rather prioritising giving and those in need. By giving £150,000 to the Salvation Army and St Vincent DePaul Christmas Family Appeals, and an additional £150,000 to strategic partners on the same basis as was used for the distribution of the Community Support Fund, we are aiding those organisations that deliver year in year out to do so this year, against an even tougher backdrop.

“I’m delighted to see Council move forward on this issue, to see a joined-up approach and collaborative working around an issue that as Councillors we all deal with. I’m even more encouraged for what might come next, as in the spirit of this agreement we’ll be working together to not just secure additional funding, but to identify regional policy with local outcomes aimed at addressing the issue of poverty in our city.

“With tough times ahead, a positive working relationship delivering for everyone is what the public expects to see from their elected representatives and I’m glad we could deliver that tonight.”