A new community outreach system will help reach those who across South Belfast missing out due to a lack of traditional community infrastructure in some areas, Alliance South Belfast representative Kate Nicholl has said.
Councillor Nicholl, recently selected as constituency representative in support of Paula Bradshaw MLA, said several neighbourhoods across the area, including the Lisburn Road, Malone and Finaghy, had “fallen through the gaps” during lockdown.
Now Councillor Nicholl is lobbying for investment in capacity building in South Belfast and has established an online community outreach support system to highlight the matter and promote available support for those in need.
“The response to the pandemic across the majority of the community from local government and others was incredible. But unfortunately, there are several areas in South Belfast in particular where traditional community infrastructure doesn’t exist,” she said.
“That means people in areas such as the Lisburn Road, Malone and Finaghy among others can fall through the gaps. The South Belfast COVID helpline received a large number of calls from people in BT9 and BT10, which are areas traditionally seen as well off but it shows we need to do more to support people in these areas who are struggling, particularly the elderly, the vulnerable and those in poverty.
“That’s why I am working with Council and South Belfast organisations to address these gaps, I have also established a Balmoral Community Outreach Group on Facebook, with others to follow. It can be used to better signpost existing services and look for other ways to harness the community support, to ensure people know who to turn to and to support each other better.”