Who We Support

Vineyard Compassion is well placed to support those who are disadvantaged, socially excluded or suffering financially due to physical, socio-emotional or economic poverty. This support is available at no cost to everyone in the community, regardless of belief, race or sexual orientation.

All Vineyard Compassion projects are a response to the various socio-economic needs encountered in the charity catchment district, the Causeway Coast and Glens borough. Vineyard Compassion is located in Central Ward, one of the most deprived areas which has a multiple deprivation index placing it within the top 15% of most deprived areas of Northern Ireland (NI Statistics and Research Agency 2017). This is illustrated by the following NIMDM index measures for the ward:

·       Living environment - 3% of most deprived in NI
·       Crime & disorder - 4% of most deprived in NI
·       Income - 12% of most deprived in NI
·       Employment - 21% of most deprived in NI
·       Health & disability - 25% of most deprived in NI
·       Education & training - 25% of most deprived in NI

Other wards within walking distance have high levels of deprivation (Harpurs Hill, Churchlands), with Ballysally 1 ranking within the top 3% of most deprived areas in NI. Overall poverty has increased in Northern Ireland with 21% of the adult population now in poverty (before housing costs) and latest figures show that within the Causeway Coast and Glens borough, poverty is much higher than the NI average - 27.5% of the population and 30.9% of children are in poverty (before housing costs). 

The most vulnerable in the community are faced with a complex set of barriers such as long-term unemployment, family breakdown, homelessness, problem debt, mental health issues, ex-offending, low educational attainment and low self-esteem. For many people these barriers are too big to overcome without support. This can lead to periods of destitution, where people go without the bare essentials we all need - a home, food, heating, lighting, clothing, shoes and basic toiletries. Destitution is defined as when people have lacked two or more of these essentials over the past month because they couldn’t afford them.

Destitution has a cyclical nature with those experiencing this extreme hardship moving from extreme poverty to destitution and back again. Most often this is due to unexpected expense or disruptions to income arising – such as an illness, loss or cut back in hours to a zero hours contract, change to benefits, Universal Credit sanction or a move to colder weather which increased heating costs. Most often those experiencing destitution had their situation resolved through a resolution of benefit issues, or less often, through finding cheaper housing, paying off debts, gaining employment, receiving support for their complex needs or even the onset of warmer weather.

In an effort to decrease the prevalence and effects of destitution and extreme poverty on the Causeway Coast, we run a number of different projects which provide participants with a plan and a possible route out of their situation and back to participate in the wider community. From crisis to full potential.