THE so-called ‘squeezed middle’ are increasingly turning to the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul (SVP) to pay their bills, the regional co-ordinator of the charity has said.
Middle class working parents are reluctantly relying on SVP to pay for heating bills and extra expenses such as Christmas gifts for children.
Regional co-ordinator Gerry Garvey said: “There are an awful amount of families that are struggling, managing to get by but when it comes to unexpected or large expenses, they just don’t have it.
“They are the ones that are reluctant to come to a charity because they feel if I am not actually hungry and on the breadline, I shouldn’t really be going to a charity.”
Mr Garvey said calls in Cork to SVP are up 15% and this increase is expected to hold over the coming weeks, before soaring in January.
“There is always a little panic coming into Christmas,” Mr Garvey said.
“Toys for kids takes priority. Food might be tight or utility bills might get put aside.
“We get some additional calls for assistance, but after Christmas, there is an absolute clammer when the bills come in.”
Mr Garvey said people put aside bills and expenses during December in an attempt to survive the expense of Christmas, but then suddenly realise in January that they have bills to pay and not a hope of paying them.
The SVP coordinator said this was leading to increases in the number of people turning to money lenders, which he said was frightening.
“We are strongly advocating to people, whatever you do, don’t go to money lenders. If you are in trouble come to us or to the Credit Union because the extortionate rates they are being charged by these money lenders is shocking.”
In terms of the organisation, Mr Garvey said the organisation had launched their annual appeal looking to put money in their kitty to help those who need it most.
The organisation is holding their annual church collection on 9 December and for the sixth year in a row, they are auctioning off a car, donated by CAB motors.