Belfast's Lord Mayor to donate mayoral budget worth £100,000 to food banks
Belfast’s Lord Mayor Councillor Daniel Baker will be donating his mayoral budget to food banks across the city during the Covid 19 emergency.
The mayoral allowance is included in a donation amounting to over £100,000 from City Hall to the city’s food banks.
Councillor Baker said: “As Mayor of Belfast, my priority is the citizens. I hope that this will help citizens across the city – from the Colin to the Newtownards Road, from Ardoyne to the Shankill. Together we will overcome.”
He added: “At this difficult time, we are doing all that we can as a council, working with agencies right across this city. As the mayor, I really wanted an initiative to help. This week we are announcing there will not be a Mayor’s Day in May and also that the budget that was there for the mayor is not being used.”
The Lord Mayor is entitled to £34,800 for the year 2019 to 2021. The budget for the Mayor’s Day in May and the allowance for the rest of his term as mayor is around £52,000.
Councillor Baker was co-opted to the position half way through the council year last December, following the general election. North Belfast MP and Sinn Fein party colleague John Finucane, who preceded him as Lord Mayor, said Councillor Baker was “leading from the front and setting an outstanding example.”
SDLP Belfast City Council Group Leader, Councillor Donal Lyons, welcomed the council’s support for his proposal for the £100,000 boost to food banks across the city.
The Balmoral Councillor said: “I welcome the support of colleagues for this proposal, which will see a significant sum of money being distributed to established food banks over the coming weeks. The food banks who will benefit from this money are non-political and work within the Trussell Trust, many with years of experience of supporting vulnerable people.”
“The majority of this money comes from the cancelled St Patrick’s Day event, with other cancelled events topping up the balance. These funds are repurposed from the cancelled events fund, meaning no additional cost to ratepayers.”
Councillor Lyons also supported calls for a “thematic” approach to helping the most vulnerable across Belfast, specifically seeking to support some of the most marginalised groups, including refugees, people with disabilities and those who suffer from poor mental health.
“This is an incredibly challenging time for people in Belfast and right across Northern Ireland. I am pleased that this funding will provide some essential support for those who need it the most.”