Video: Benefit shake-up will have severe impact across Mid-Ulster

Growing numbers of families in south Derry are having to resort to foodbanks just to survive, it emerged this week.

And with changes to the benefit system being rolled out demand is expected to grow in the coming months.

“It’s a terrible reflection on society in the 21st century when people have to go to foodbanks in order to live,” said Marie Gilmour, manager of Magherafelt District Advice Service (MDAS).

The organisation believe the benefits shake-up will have a severe impact on households as over 40 per cent of the local population have long term illnesses and rely on incapacity benefit or employment support allowance to make ends meet.

People finding themselves unemployed and low earners are also facing hardships in the present economic climate.

The Northern Ireland maybe in ‘recovery mode’ according to economists, but the collapse of the construction industry - Mid-Ulster’s largest employer during the ‘boom years’ - is still affecting the community.

Ms Gilmour says most the people they were seeing on a daily basis were merely existing or standing still, with increasing numbers having to resort to foodbanks.