A spokesperson says requests for help in Northern Ireland rose by 51% at the end of last year with almost 170 calls a day for help being logged in the last quarter of 2022
Startling figures from the charity St Vincent de Paul (SVP) paint a dire picture as the cost of living crisis makes its grip felt even more as we enter 2023.
New data from SVP shows there were a total of 14,144 requests made to the charity’s Regional Office in Belfast — either online or via phone — for financial, emotional and food support in the last quarter of 2022, amounting to an average of almost 170 requests for help daily.
Among the concerns and needs of those contacting the charity in the last quarter of 2022 were around purchasing energy in the form of electricity, gas or home heating oil, for which there were 2,585 calls over the quarter.
In the same period last year, there were 1,350 requests for help with energy costs. Meanwhile, those in need of food during the period amounted to 1,032 requests.
Mary Waide, SVP Regional President for the North Region, said: “The rollout of the government’s £600 energy support payment will no doubt provide much needed financial assistance to the most vulnerable.
"However the reality is that there are people up and down the country who really don’t need this payment and I would appeal to those people to consider donating that payment to charities like SVP in order for us to reach further into the communities in which we serve.”
Some 1,864 people requested support with Christmas pressures and 256 calls were made requesting clothing items. More than double the same quarter in the previous year.
More commonly, the findings showed that callers contacted the charity with more than one request, with ‘multiple issues’ as the main reason for them reaching out. During the quarter, 4,711 people called the charity with ‘multiple issues’.
Almost double that of the same period last year when 2,402 ‘multiple issues’ requests were received. Requests for help from first-time callers also grew consistently.