Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Groomsport - Councillor Peter J. Martin

Cllr Peter Martin [DUP] and Christians Against Poverty [North Down]

Tuesday 13th May 2014

Many think that North Down, classed as one of the richest areas of Northern Ireland, makes it somehow resistant to people falling into serious debt problems. Quite frankly nothing could be further from the truth. A Housing Executive report last year cited that 782 homelessness applications were received by that agency in North Down. A report for the NI Assembly a 3 years ago cited that 14% of children in North Down were living in poverty.

Many think that North Down, classed as one of the richest areas of Northern Ireland, makes it somehow resistant to people falling into serious debt problems. Quite frankly nothing could be further from the truth. A Housing Executive report last year cited that 782 homelessness applications were received by that agency in North Down. A report for the NI Assembly a 3 years ago cited that 14% of children in North Down were living in poverty. Although this is one of the lowest figures in Northern Ireland [by Council boundaries] it still stands in stark contrast to our ‘Gold Coast’ image. Numbers do not represent the true story though; that behind each of those figures there is a real person or family in crippling debt which is often not of their own making. Any one of us could suffer illness, bereavement, loss of job or relationship breakdown which could very quickly cause financial hardship and lead to debt in a short space of time. 

The Bangor CAP Centre opened in October 2010 and since then they have helped over 100 families. They are presently working with 50 families and 16 families are now debtfree with many more hoping to achieve this in the next number of months. 

Cllr Peter Martin 

“Quite simply debt can be like drowning in the sea with no life belt to hand. Organisations like CAP provide that life belt and can turn lives around with help in restructuring debt and managing finance more effectively. The increasing numbers of self referrals to organisations like CAP and Storehouse North Down clearly demonstrate there are people out there in North Down in real and present need. CAP, like Citizens Advice Bureau, give life changing help and I would urge anyone who is struggling with debt to contact them completely confidentially” 

Julie Rutledge [Cap Manager ND] 

“When I am asked what relevance CAP has to North Down (one of the most affluent areas in Northern Ireland), I would say that we have been approached for help by 150 individuals/families who are struggling financially and have seen first–hand the devastating effect that personal debt can have. Storehouse North Down has given over 3000 hampers in around 18 months to people in real need. We believe this is only the tip of the iceberg.

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