25th August 2022

Dear MLA,

We, the undersigned leaders and organisations, are representatives from a breadth of churches and Christian faith-based charities in Northern Ireland. We are writing to you as part of ongoing efforts to help create a united church voice in response to the ever-growing poverty crisis that is affecting the wellbeing of our families, communities, and wider society.

We commend and support the statement released today from the Church Leaders’ Group calling on the governments in Stormont and Dublin to tackle poverty across the island of Ireland for the good and flourishing of everyone in our communities.

We are deeply concerned about the disproportionate impact that rising costs of living are having on those on the lowest incomes.

Our churches are found right in the heart of our local communities where we strive to meet immediate needs through foodbanks, debt centres and community activity groups. At grassroots level, within local communities, we see the impact of rising living costs on those who were already experiencing poverty and many of whom are now driven towards destitution. We also see more people who are working but living in deepening poverty as a direct result of insurmountable rising costs.

We believe the church has a clear role in helping those in need in our communities. We want to do more than just meet immediate need, we want to use any influence we have to speak up, in solidarity with and for our neighbours, individuals, and families. We also advocate for the systemic reform and policy priorities required to transform the lived experiences of poverty and destitution.

Addressing the real, raw immediate needs of individuals and families cannot be left to the voluntary, faith and third sectors alone. We call on every elected representative, and political party to work together, to play their vital role and to prioritise a strategic intervention that will protect the most vulnerable in our society this winter. We also call on you, our elected representatives to deliver and implement the long overdue anti-poverty strategy that tackles more long-term issues such as the welfare system, housing and getting people into work that pays.

What will you pledge to do to help people if an Executive is formed or is not formed?
Would representatives from your party be willing to meet with us to help discuss and progress meaningful solutions?

The challenges are great but we believe we can and must respond to this cost of living crisis together.

Please respond to Danielle McElhinney, public policy officer, Evangelical Alliance NI d.​mcelhinney@​eauk.​org


David Smyth – The Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland
Jonny Currie –The Trussell Trust
Alison Flanagan – Christians Against Poverty (CAPNI
The Salvation Army
St Vincent De Paul, North Region 
Rev Brian Anderson – East Belfast Mission
Very Rev. Dr. Norman Hamilton OBE as Chair of Contemporary Christianity
Glen Mitchell — Tearfund NI
Diane Holt – Thrive Ireland
Ricky Wright – Vineyard Compassion
Keeva Watson – Redeeming Our Communities
Louise Ferguson — The Larder Foodbank Belfast
Peter Rollins – Ballymoney Foodbank
Jenny Thompson – Hope Magherafelt Foodbank
Daniel Black — Newtownabbey Foodbank
Heather Purdy – Willowfield Parish Community Association
Chris Leech – Emmanuel Churches Lurgan and Portadown
Causeway Coast Vineyard Church, Coleraine
Belfast City Vineyard Church
Rev Clive Akinson – Willowfield Parish Church, Belfast
Carnmoney Church
Rev. Michael Spence & Rev Alan Peek, Movilla Abbey Church, Newtownards

"Our churches are found right in the heart of our local communities where we strive to meet immediate needs"

For comment contact: David Smyth on 07739307656 or d.​smyth@​eauk.​org