‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help’

FAMILIES right across the county are struggling with the rapidly increasing cost of living.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Brexit saga, prices in both the retail and hospitality sector have skyrocketed.
Many people are being forced to choose carefully what to spend their money on as the result of the financial squeeze.
Jenny Irvine, director of the Irvinestown Foodbank at the Arc Healthy Living Centre, has witnessed a sharp rise in people calling in and asking for help.
“We see it every day, it’s very real,” she explains.
“People are starting to really understand how they can be affected by it, and this makes them very worried.
“Even today [Friday], it is very cold but people are still trying to ration their heating. People actually came in here this morning because they don’t have to put on their own heating.”
With Covid-19 and Brexit the leading factors in the sharp price increase, Jenny feels that the ongoing political stalemate at Stormont has “created fear” for people.
She said, “If you have a certain budget and all of the prices go up, you are going to have less and people are making decisions, based on what they can afford.”
Despite the financial burden that people are under, Jenny feels that some people have reservations about reaching out and asking for help.
“It is very hard for people to come through the door for the first time but it is important to know that there is no judgement here.
“We appreciate exactly the pressures that people are facing currently. So don’t be afraid to approach us.”
Charities like the Irvinestown Foodbank rely solely on support from the local community and Jenny hopes that people will continue to help out whenever they can. “We are in the heart of the community and we see the issues. We are trying to be as supportive as we possibly can be,” she said.
“People are very kind and a lot of people are donating. Some don’t have a lot to give themselves but they always find something, which is extremely heartening.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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