Scaffolding Project

The Scaffolding Project was established in 2017 by a group of representatives from community and voluntary organisations who already deliver support services and are committed to tackling the impact of poverty in east Belfast.

By taking a strategic and collaborative approach the project seeks to maximise the resources of each organisation and deliver measures focusing on families, food and fuel. Partners share the vision to provide equal opportunity for everyone within the community to live, learn, work and socialise.

The project delivers campaigns, activities and events which aim to alleviate the impact of poverty, raise awareness of the issues, gain additional support and influence change at individual and organisational level.

Through a pathway of services which offers holistic support to individuals and families, the Scaffolding Project aims to equip people to move forward and out of poverty.

Sadly, the project came to an end in April 2024 as funding ceased from the Urban Villages Initiative. Examples of the impactful interventions are as follows;

The Summer Food Programme

The summer food programme aims to provide a socially innovative food programme to support children attending summer activities in inner east Belfast.

  • Address the gap created in the absence of Free School Meals & breakfast clubs during summer holidays
  • Maintain the nutritious health of children during the summer hols and support them to make healthy food choices.
  • Facilitate and support partnership working between community organisations and churches – paving the way for sustained support in future years.

2018 - 4575 children fed over 6 weeks/ 314 households

2019 - 4237 children fed over 6 weeks/ 467 households

Re-Cycle School Uniform Initiative

The first recycle school uniform event was held in summer 2017 and due to its success it has expanded year on year. In the summer of 2019 six community organisations worked together to deliver 7 events. The principle of the initiative is ‘give and receive’ allowing people to donate and /or choose items for the new school year. This enterprise is widely supported in the local community – below are some comments from parents who visited the three day event in East Belfast Network Centre in 2019.

 "I’m delighted that I have been able to get most of the uniforms for my 3 children and I donated our old uniforms in return. Thank you so much.”

 “Great idea – I went home and told my neighbour and brought her down, she was able to get some uniform too.”

2018 - 4 events/ 233 visits/ 407 items distributed                                        

2019 - 7 events/ 254 visits/ 597 items distributed                                                                  

In addition to recycled uniform the project supports families to buy new uniform through the Uniform Voucher Scheme. This is a scheme supported by donations to our Campaigns Fund and in partnership with a local uniform retailer.


Awareness Raising

Raising awareness is how we hope to build momentum for change.

Between January – March 2019 the Scaffolding Project hosted a series of events in east Belfast. Two films were screened at Strand Arts Centre namely, I Daniel Blake and a documentary film by Sean McAllister, entitled A Northern Soul.  Screening the films provided the opportunity to understand more fully some of the issues faced by people living in our community. In March a conference was hosted entitled ‘Myth Busting and the Reality of Poverty’ which was attended by 70 people from a cross section of the community, voluntary and statutory sectors.

The intention was to provide a catalyst for conversation about the reality of poverty in inner east Belfast and we have seen several new initiatives emerge as a result. Several follow up events were offered after the conference, a 6 week course in Economics for Ordinary People and a Lobbying & Campaigning workshop. More recently the East Belfast Churches Network hosted a series of events entitled Beyond the Foodbank.

Fund Raising

Crisis Fund   -   The crisis fund exists to address the issue of fuel poverty.

The fund was established through fundraising activities and continues to be supported in this way together with generous donations from organisations, churches and individuals. Member organisations and partner agencies access the fund to purchase gas, electric and oil for families in need. The financial support received is an endorsement of the work of the project and the importance of this provision cannot be underestimated.

The Scaffolding Project is dependent on raising funds to deliver its programmes such as the Summer Food Programme, Cookery Club and Uniform Voucher Scheme.


The Scaffolding project was supported by the Urban Villages Initiative which unfortunately came to an end in April 2024.


Membership of the project existed across a variety of organisations (see below).