Recession still bites those in need

While subscriptions and donations to Protestant Aid have thankfully increased in years, it has to be balanced against increasing demand which meant that PA’s charitable giving increased by 11% on the previous year, to €711,200.

There was also an appreciable 33% increase in school fees and expenses grants – up from €159,207 to €211,829 – while General Grants spending increased 19% to €294.869.

 

Any light at the end of the tunnel?

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office state that the number of households at risk from poverty has risen to almost 16%, while another 6.2% of the population were in ‘consistent poverty’.

At the same time, Social Justice Ireland (SJI) says that there is an alarming rise in the rates of child poverty. In a recent report – ‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children’ – SJI said that one in five children has gone to school or to bed hungry because there was not enough food at home.  This represents a 4% increase on SJI’s previous findings.

Subscriptions and Donations Increase

Protestant Aid recorded an increase in subscriptions and donations in 2011, accounted for by up to 400 new subscribers as a direct result of the Special Fundraising Initiative in 2010. But that has to be balanced against increasing demand which meant that its charitable giving increased by 11% on the previous year, to €711,200.

There was an appreciable 33% increase in school fees and expenses grants – up from €159,207 to €211,829 – while General Grants spending increased 19% to €294.869. Within that latter figure is the €150,000 raised for the Archbishops’ & Bishops’ Special Fund which has now been fully distributed.

The economy is growing – but so is poverty!

The bullish optimism as portrayed in the business sections of our daily newspapers is encouraging to many, as stock markets reach record highs across world markets. While this uplift brings prosperity to a minority, fresh data from the CSO paints a darker picture for many families throughout Ireland.
girl with suitcaseUnfortunately, the increasing number of people affected by grinding poverty is reflected all too accurately by the 32% increase in General Grant Applications received by Protestant Aid during 2014. A statistic that grimly portrays the existence of widespread need.
The fact is that 1.4 million people (30% of the population) are experiencing enforced deprivation, which tragically, is double that compared with the start of the downturn. This statistic can manifest itself in harsh ways – usually as a cold house, poor clothing or inadequate nutrition. Reflecting something of an imbalance in society, those most affected continue to be the unemployed, the sick, lone parents and perhaps most regrettably, children.

Father and daughter

At the start of the economic downturn, over 65,000 children were identified as experiencing consistent poverty – today, that figure has doubled. In other words, the most vulnerable section of society have now become the greatest casualties of the recession.
One-in-eight children rooted in consistent poverty must surely be an unacceptable statistic on those who most need our protection?
At Protestant Aid, we didn’t need the CSO’s Survey on Income and Living Conditions to remind us of this dilemma. Each General Grant Application we receive tells its own story and with such a huge increase in these applications, it would appear that for the moment anyway, poverty in Ireland isn’t going away.

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