Residents reminded to seek appropriate support

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Lord Mayor Councillor Mealla Campbell, pictured here with local volunteer Sharon McCollum who is distributing parcels for the Craigavon Food Bank, reminds residents of Council’s ongoing work to provide community support and protect those in critical need.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is urging residents to use the full range of support services available to them, rather than relying on the limited services intended for those in most critical need.

Many residents believe that the only assistance available is through the distribution of food parcels, but there is a full range of help available to those who need support as a result of covid-19. Help is available for anyone in need; from those who need one-off assistance while they are self-isolating for a short period, to those who urgently require food for their family and have no way of accessing it.

Helpline advisors are on hand to direct residents to the most appropriate source of aid. Often the best source of assistance is through the local community and voluntary sector, which is backed by the council through the Covid-19 community support grant scheme.

The council website contains a list of local stores offering delivery for those who can’t leave the house but have the means and access to have food and supplies delivered to their door.

The local support directory (also on the council website) provides a list of community groups throughout the Borough who are helping residents with a range of issues from collecting prescriptions to offering a friendly phone call to those who are feeling isolated.

For the most vulnerable members of our society who are in crisis, there is also a food parcel scheme in operation, funded by the Department for Communities and delivered by Council through the local food banks. The DfC food parcel scheme is in place to help people who are facing an urgent food shortage when they cannot leave the house, they cannot have food delivered, and they have no family or friends to help them out.

It is important that people are aware that the number of food parcels available is limited, and Council would urge everyone involved to apply the criteria strictly to ensure that there are enough food parcels available for their most vulnerable neighbours.

Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Mealla Campbell commented,

“Council is continuing to coordinate the delivery of food parcels to those most in need in our community and protecting our residents, particularly those families who need critical support, remains our foremost priority.

“As the weeks have progressed we have seen a considerable increase in the demand for food parcels and unfortunately the demand we are experiencing is well above the supply we have available.

“We understand people’s circumstances can change from week-to-week and as a council, we will continue to review requests and apply the criteria set by the Department for Communities.  We are continuing to work in partnership with our local food banks and the wider community to provide support and ensure those in critical need receive help during this time.

“I would like to thank our Community Development team and staff on the frontline who are working hard to manage this scheme alongside local volunteers.”

If you are shielding and need help you can contact the coronavirus helpline on 0808 802 0020, text ACTION to 81025, or email .