Isle of ManLocated in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man is a generally wealthy country known for its low taxes, financial services and online gambling industries. However, this overall wealth does not signify economic prosperity for every citizen.

In recent years there has been a rise in the rates of hunger in the Isle of Man. Captain Simon Clampton from the Salvation Army tells the BBC, “when people think of the Isle of Man they think of an affluent society but we have a hidden problem”.

In 2012 the Manx Salvation Army reported increasing rates of hunger, as indicated by the over 500 food appeals made by individuals and families. Although this number may seem insignificant compared to the 87,545 population (as of 2015), hunger rates are expected to increase. In an effort to assist the “hidden hungry“, multiple organizations have created and donated to food banks on the Isle of Man.

A Steering committee has planned to establish food banks throughout the island, based on the current U.K. system. Sue Johnson, a member of the committee thinks that many citizens suffering from hunger in the Isle of Man may be hesitant to ask for help.

This reality could explain why hunger rates in the country have yet to be officially reported by the CIA World Fact Book. However, the committee is devoted to helping anyone in need of assistance. Johnson tells the BBC, “I think we will be surprised at not only the amount of people who come forward, but with the type of people who come forward. These are difficult economic times and we want to put in a system which acts as a sort of safety net”.

The Isle of Man Food Bank, established in 2013, provides those in need not only with food, but also diapers and other baby items, toiletries, kitchen utensils and guidance.

The food bank, along with the Housing Matters homeless charity organization, started gardening in 2015 to supplement donations to the food bank.

The Salvation Army, Housing Matters, Crossroads Care, the Church of England and local homeless charity Kemmryk have all contributed to the food bank project on the Isle of Man.

Although hunger in the Isle of Man has been on the rise since 2012, recent food bank projects are working to support citizens who are struggling financially.

Carrie Robinson

Photo: Flickr

Isle of Man Commits to Eradicating Polio
The Isle of Man’s International Development Committee of the Council of Ministers has announced its intentions to contribute £30,000 annually for the next three years to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Rotary International, partnered with the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF, will utilize the funds to finally rid the world of this preventable disease.

International health organizations have worked diligently to eliminate 99 percent of polio cases; however, they are determined to completely wipe out the disease. Polio is completely preventable with a vaccine, but some people living in poor areas of the world still do not have access to it. Those affected by polio are often young children less than five years old.

Phil Gawne MHK, Chairman of the International Development Committee, is passionate about long-term commitment because polio is a disease that is primarily found in children. The Isle of Man’s donations will go towards providing vaccines for millions of these impoverished children, thus making the end of polio an even more attainable goal. By pledging to give money for three years, Gawne says his country is ensuring that the polio initiative is successful.

Despite the current debates over funding foreign aid programs, Minister Gawne enthusiastic about the role Isle of Man in playing in ending polio. This issue will also be discussed at the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi in the next few days. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the Prince of Abu Dhabi, will educate attendees on how to stop the transmission of polio by 2014 and the importance of immunization.

Minister Gawne is proud that his country is able to look at solutions for global programs rather than only those that affect his homeland. According to Gawne, the Isle of Man is “fully committed to playing its part in efforts to create a more sustainable future for all of the world’s citizens.”

– Mary Penn

Source: Isle of Man