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FOOD / Energy / Clothing BANKS : MORE A HUMANITARIAN THREAD ? 100,000+ Carers Reported As Needing Them In 2018 - Page 11 - Carers UK Forum

FOOD / Energy / Clothing BANKS : MORE A HUMANITARIAN THREAD ? 100,000+ Carers Reported As Needing Them In 2018

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
393 posts
More from the Toon Army's endeavours to spread food bank donations across the entire football community :

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/nor ... t-13758113

Football clubs join forces at St James' Park to put the force of fans behind foodbanks.

NUFC-supported West End foodbank is the largest in the country - and now other fans are getting involved.

A snippet :
Football fans from across the country joined forces at St James’ Park today to build a national network of fan and foodbank partnerships.

Fans and officials from clubs including Newcastle United, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, along with charities such as the Trussell Trust, got together with two Tyne and Wear MPs to look at ways of putting the power of fan communities behind efforts to tackle hunger.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said: “It’s a strange boast to have to make but Newcastle has the biggest foodbank in the country so all credit to those who do all the work, but also to the Newcastle fans who have responded to that.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that in this day and age foodbanks are necessary at all. We’re trying to do three things: celebrate what has been done and the response of fans to the need in their community; share the best practice so people can learn from it; and spread the message to get more fans from up and down the country.

Puts our own supporting organisations to shame ???
“Football clubs are rooted in their communities, they share a responsibility for looking after their communities. Football fans get a bad press but arranging a collection point is something people can do without upsetting their matchday routine.” Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, said: “Growing up in Newcastle I have always felt that football is a force for good. It’s had its highs and lows but this is an example of football making a real difference. It shouldn’t be necessary but it is.

“Across the country we have families being forced into desperation after seven years of austerity. I have constituents regularly in tears because they are forced to go to foodbanks because their benefits have been delayed or sanctioned or switched off.

“Foodbanks are nothing to be proud of but I’m really proud of Newcastle fans and the support they have given the foodbank.”

Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, who is chair of the all-party parliamentary group for football supporters, said: “Here we are in 2017 and unfortunately the use of foodbanks has grown to 1.4 million people. We all wish it wasn’t the case but since they are so necessary, I’m here to see how I can help.

“Football supporters gather together in great numbers to see their own team and if they can bring one item with them then a lot of people can produce a lot of food for the community.

“We want to broaden understanding and knowledge of what is happening around the country and to expand the programme so that more clubs and supporters get involved.”

The Newcastle West End foodbank, which has a partnership with the football club, was formed in 2013 and fed more than 40,000 people last year.




A little irony ?

Mike Ashley , chairman and majority shareholder ... also majority interest in Sports Direct ... zero hour contract / working conditions fame ... mentioned in the House a few times over the past year ... just how many of his employees have had to resort to food banks in the past few years ???


Perhaps Mike will do the decent thing ... open a food bank inside the large Sports Direct complex across the wastlelands from me over in Shirebrook , Derbyshire ?
Seems like " The Establishment " has caught up with food banks ... IN THE WORST POSSIBLE WAY ?


The headline is enough :
Observer Food Monthly Awards – Outstanding Achievement.

And yes , a food bank of the month !

What's next for " Awards " ?

A " Thank you " from The Establishment as no higher taxes have been introduced to prevent over a million having to use a food bank !!!!

On par with awards for carers ????

Is this their reaction ?

The words SUN and DON'T SHINE spring to mind ...
An article from The Canary ... a bit of the old Dunkirk spirit ?

https://www.thecanary.co/uk/2017/10/18/ ... s-country/

Heroic Brits are making a ‘staggering’ effort to tackle a crisis sweeping across the country

Not a good start but ... all authors see things in different lights ... certainly an " Invader " that needs to be shown the door ?

Heroic Britons are making a “staggering” effort to tackle a crisis sweeping across the country. And it puts the Conservative government to absolute shame.

Giving it their all

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) and the Trussell Trust have released a new report on Britain’s “hunger crisis”. It calculates the “extent and value of volunteer contributions” at food banks across the country.

According to the findings, volunteers do a “staggering” 4.1 million hours of unpaid work each year. This amounts to around £30m worth of work on the National Living Wage.

Furthermore, the report highlights that there are currently around 2,000 food banks operating in the UK. So that’s a whole lot of Brits doing a whole lot of work for free, across much of the country. And they’re doing so to make sure people don’t starve.

Food crisis

IFAN’s Prof Jon May, however, explained why Britons are having to make such extraordinary efforts:

In exchange for our financial contributions, government is required to ensure sufficient support is available to all, so that no one needs to rely on charity to feed themselves or their families. That contract has been broken.

And May urged the government to step up:

But we call on government to stop relying on food banks, and to accept its responsibilities for Britain’s hunger crisis.

Samantha Stapley, the Trussell Trust’s Head of Operations, also warned that food banks can’t replace “the welfare safety net”. She said that “issues with benefit payments” remain the main reason why people need food parcels. And issues related to Universal Credit are increasingly an area of concern, according to Stapley.


Responding to the report, a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson said:

Reasons for food bank use are complex so it’s misleading to link them to any one issue.

We continue to spend around £90bn a year supporting people, including those who are out of work or on a low income.

Prime Minister Theresa May faced a severe backlash before the general election when she said there were “complex reasons” for nurses using food banks. Obviously, the government learns nothing from its mistakes.

The reason that people use food banks is, of course, hunger. And that is, in turn, because those people haven’t enough money to buy food. Delays in benefits payments, such as the six-week wait for Universal Credit, contribute to this. And the link is clear: in areas where the government has fully rolled out Universal Credit, there has been an average 16.85% increase in food bank use.

So what does the Prime Minister do to resolve this? She vows to keep the six-week wait. And she refuses to pause the extension of Universal Credit to other areas while her government fixes its problems.

Essentially, the British public is stepping up because the government appears to be wilfully failing its citizens. So the duty Britons feel towards each other is largely thriving, while the social contract the government has with its people seems to be breaking down.

But this contract isn’t just social. It’s financial too. The public pays for support for all, such as the NHS and benefits. It also, however, pays politicians wages. And if they’re not fulfilling the ‘role’ they’re paid to do, they shouldn’t be in the job at all.

" Bandits at four o'clock ... tally ho ! " ... one has to smile ... a little ?

Still , gist of the article continues the theme of the Government being in almost total denial as to the real effects of it's policies on the masses at street level.

If nothing else , the padding is somewhat unique , the meat ?

A harbringer for those awaiting the UC steamroller.

Perhaps the historical air lift of supplies into West Berlin shortly after the Soviets cut off road / rail routes is more apt ?????

Freddie Laker ... Skytrain ? That's how he got started all those years ago.

... and where would latter day imitators like Richard Branson be without the original pathfinders ?

Merely substitute DWP for SOVIETS ???

.... and ( YOUR MANOR ) for WEST BERLIN ???
Interest comparison ... Germany considered to be better off than the UK ... not in the numbers using food banks !

http://www.dw.com/en/germanys-food-pant ... a-37148492

Germany's food pantries struggle to meet rising demand.

German food banks are increasingly overstretched as demand rises. The number of pantries rose sharply after the Hartz IV reductions to unemployment benefit plans were implemented in 2005.

German food banks are increasingly overstretched as demand rises. The number of pantries rose sharply after the Hartz IV reductions to unemployment benefit plans were implemented in 2005.

In Germany, food pantries have been struggling to keep up with rising demand as the number of people seeking their services has soared.

Though food donations in mid-2016 rose by 11 percent, the number of recipients rose by 18 percent, Jochen Brühl, the chairman of the Berlin-based federation of German food banks, told DW.

"The people who come to our distribution points mirror the problems in society, and show who is at the losing end," Brühl said, adding that patrons were mainly people on welfare and people who earn low wages, as well as retirees, single parents and their children - and, since late 2015, about 280,000 applicants for asylum.

The number of pantries, known in Germany as "Tafeln" (tables), rose sharply after the "Hartz IV" reforms to long-term unemployment benefits were implemented in 2005.

The outlets regularly support about 1.5 million people in Germany, according to the federation.

The number of senior citizens waiting in line for bags full of staples, fruit and vegetables - donated by supermarkets and wholesalers - has doubled since 2007, Brühl said. He said that child poverty poses a problem, too. Children and senior citizens make up about half of the people whom food pantries serve. "The development is alarming," he said.

Over the years, food banks popped up all over Germany since 1993, when a group of Berlin volunteers started scouring supermarkets and restaurants for bruised fruit and dairy products that had reached their expiration dates, distributing the food to homeless people.

The movement now has more than 900 food pantries, more than 2,000 distribution points, about 60,000 volunteers, and more than 2,000 dedicated vehicles, some of them refrigerated to transport perishable foods. Unlike in some other countries, German food pantries not only collect food, but also distribute it.

Taking pressure off the government?

Overstretched or not, the movement has its critics.

Why, asked Stefan Selke, a sociologist at Furtwangen University, would a country as rich as Germany feel comfortable with the services that food pantries offer? The "practice stabilizes the system," he told DW. That's why. The pantries are a mirror of social policy in Germany, he said - but they certainly "can't substitute the welfare state."

The sociologist sees a real danger of an "unintended stabilization of poverty" and urges Germany to "fight poverty in a sustainable way instead of 'investing' in poverty relief by food pantries."

Poverty is in fact on the rise in Germany, according to the government's fifth report on poverty and wealth. About 5.6 percent of the population are officially classified as poor, and about 20 percent of people are threatened by poverty.

The federation has long called for a federal poverty commissioner, Brühl said. The food pantries are volunteer-based organizations that increasingly "work at the limit," he added.

Trucks, storage, rent

Pantries in populous North Rhine-Westphalia, in Bavaria and Berlin in particular served more customers last year than ever before, and other federal states also noted a rise in demand.

There is no standard procedure. Each local pantry has its own opening hours and way of collecting and distributing food. Patrons - who have to show proof of their need - often pay a small token fee of 1 euro ($1.06) for a bag of groceries. In the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, many pantries are set up like supermarkets: Customers make their own choices and pay a small fee per item.

Volunteers in other countries have since modeled their food banks on the German concept, according to the federation, which offered the Feedback initiative in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as food pantries in Sydney, Vienna and Switzerland as examples.

For once , being second to the Germans has it's advantages ???

For how long ????

Pantries ... interesting use of the word in this context ?

I much prefer the historical term ... SOUP KITCHENS ... and thoughts of that golden age for those lower down the social scale.

Still , diseases and medical conditions last seen in that era are making a comeback !!!
Life on UC including users of food banks :

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/mi ... l-13779574

Video also available as a supplement to the article.
Find a food bank ?

Published in The Sun newspaper of all places , a link to the Trussells database :

Just enter your post code.
Almost an article that any reader would have predicted , given other recent news articles on the forum :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... sal-credit

Food banks warn of struggle to cope this Christmas due to universal credit.

Trussell Trust says six-week wait for first payment of benefit will lead to soaring demand for help from families this winter.

Food banks have said they will struggle to meet the soaring need for emergency food supplies from low-income families this Christmas as hardship caused by the six-week waiting period for universal credit payment starts to bite.

The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest food bank network, said demand for its parcels in areas where full service universal credit is in operation had increased by an average of 30% since April, compared with 12% in sample areas not yet covered by the new benefit system.

Releasing its mid-year figures, the trust said universal credit waits, reduced disability entitlements, the freeze on benefit increases and low pay had driven up referrals to its food banks by 13%, putting it on course to deliver record levels of food aid this year.

The trust, whose 428 food bank centres have given out 587,000 three-day emergency food packages since April, called on ministers to take urgent action to reduce the minimum 42-day waiting time for a first universal credit payment.

“The simple truth is that even with the enormous generosity of our donors and volunteers, we’re concerned food banks could struggle to meet demand this winter if critical changes to benefit delivery aren’t made now,” said Mark Ward, Trussell’s interim chief executive.

Meanwhile, research by one of the UK’s biggest social landlords estimates that the mandatory six-week wait for a first universal credit payment will put more than 23,000 low-income UK families at risk of destitution in the run-up to Christmas.

About 41,000 children live in households due to move on to universal credit from mid-November, leaving parents struggling to afford seasonal treats and gifts as well as basic living essentials, the Peabody Trust housing association said.

Brendan Sarsfield, Peabody’s chief executive, said: “Six weeks’ minimum wait for payment is too long and is pushing the poorest into greater debt. The government should pause the rollout and reduce the waiting period to two weeks. This could ensure 40,000 households get some money in time for Christmas.”

About 118 jobcentres in areas including Birmingham, Manchester, Wolverhampton, Lambeth, Swansea, Brighton, Dundee, Newport, Gateshead, Waltham Forest, Reading and Oxfordshire are scheduled to move on to the full universal credit system over the next few weeks.

In the absence of official forecasts, Peabody used recent data on universal credit starts and family types to calculate that 39% of the estimated 60,000 households coming on to the system in November and December would contain children.

There is no official data on numbers of children for each universal credit household, so Peabody used the UK household average of 1.74 to reach the figure of 41,000 children. It added: “Our estimate may be underestimating the actual number here, as families are taking a growing proportion of the increase now that the full service is being rolled out.”

The chair of the all-party Commons work and pensions committee, Frank Field, whose Birkenhead constituency will shift on to universal credit this month told the Guardian that waits for the new benefit would push many families “to the brink of destitution” in the run-up to Christmas.

Field said in a Commons debate last month that the main food bank in Birkenhead was looking to stockpile an extra 15 tonnes of supplies to enable it to manage the expected explosion in demand following the arrival of universal credit. Ministers replied that they did not expect food bank use to increase.

The Department for Work and Pensions said there was no causal link between food bank use and welfare reform and it would be “misleading” to suggest so. It described the Peabody figures as “speculative”. A spokesperson said: “We’re clear that advance payments are widely available from the start of anyone’s universal credit claim and urgent cases are fast-tracked so no one should be without funds.”

However, a recent report by the work and pensions committee on universal credit concluded that advance loans offered only limited help because claimants were able to borrow the equivalent of up to only two weeks’ universal credit income to help them through the six-week waiting period.

The committee’s inquiry into universal credit, published last week, received copious evidence from landlords and claimants showing that the mandatory 42-day wait leaves many people struggling to pay rent and meet basic living costs. About a fifth wait longer than six weeks for a first payment, while an estimated 85% do not have a month’s worth of savings to tide them over.

There are about 600,000 people on full service universal credit, and by the time it is fully rolled out in 2022 an estimated 7 million are expected to claim it. Universal credit was designed to simplify the benefits system by bundling six existing entitlements – including unemployment benefit, housing benefit and working tax credit – into one. However, the long-delayed programme, which is five years behind schedule, has run into huge criticism as a result of huge cuts, administrative errors and complexity.

Crying wolf ?

Not when there is a whole army of wolves on their way ... manor by manor.

The very fabric of street life is under threat ... add in sucking the very life blood out of it ... money ... and what is your conclusion ????
Several recent reports from UK sources in the past few days ... this one is from Ireland ... in line with another Irish article posted today.

Different country , different way of doing things but ... the same problems ?

https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-sty ... -1.3281951

'It’s very hard to say ‘I need food’'

An ad-hoc food bank at the Boyle Family Resource centre has seen a surge in demand from local families and beyond

It’s a Wednesday afternoon in late October, in Boyle, Co Roscommon, and I’m being shown a frozen birthday cake. It’s a pretty cake with pink icing. “We have been keeping this for when we get a family who has a birthday coming up,” explains Louise Moran, handling the box carefully, and gently putting it back into the freezer again.

Moran is the manager of Boyle’s Family Resource Centre, which has been serving the local community for 30 years. The town recorded a population of 2,588 in Census 2016. The centre, which is in a lovely period building, is on the edge of the town. There are a number of services on offer, ranging from parenting and bereavement support to basic first aid, English classes and computer skills. There’s a drop-in library, which is housed in a beautiful room, with comfortable sofas and armchairs, William Morris-patterned curtains, and salt crystal lamps that glow warmly in the dim October light.

But it’s not first aid or English classes or computer skills that members of the public have been coming to the centre for on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons during the last couple of months. From as far away as Castlerea and Carrick on Shannon, people have been quietly presenting at the back door with shopping bags to avail of the ad-hoc food bank that has been operating since late August.

The centre had already applied for, and received funding from FEAD, a European initiative to distribute basic foodstuffs to those in need in their community. FEAD is the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived. Since successfully applying for FEAD, the centre has had two deliveries of non-perishable food. I’m looking at what remains of it: the second delivery was meant to last until Christmas. It’s October and there is very little left of that delivery, except breakfast cereal.

“There was pasta, tinned tuna, teabags, pot noodles, beans. They’re all gone now,” Moran says. What is left are several boxes of Weetabix, Rice Krispies, Cornflakes, bags of porridge, a small box of bags of rice, a few jars of coffee, a few tins of vegetable soup, corn, peas and four packets of Cup-a-Soup.

Sell-by dates

The storeroom is at the back of the centre, and along with remaining FEAD supplies, which are piled up in boxes on the floor, there is a fridge and freezer in the room. Both of these were donated by two local businesses: Moran is reluctant to name them, but they deserve to be named. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible to have a crucial second element to the food bank, perishable food just at its sell-by date.

Tony Scanlon is a retired social worker who lives outside Boyle, who created a Facebook page earlier this year called Poverty and Homelessness. He posted on it that he had become aware anecdotally that there were people going hungry in various midlands counties on a weekly basis. He wanted to gauge what levels of need there might be, and how he might be able to help in some way.

“I just happened to see that Facebook page,” Moran says. At that point, the centre had already applied to avail of the FEAD programme. She got in touch with him, and a public meeting was held some time later, with various members from the community attending, including the St Vincent de Paul.

At that point, Scanlon had approached FoodCloud, the inspired initiative that sees various supermarkets making freely available to communities foodstuffs that have just reached their sell-by date. There are a number of FoodCloud hubs around the country, but so far, these tend to be mainly in urban areas. Scanlon approached Tesco in Sligo, and Aldi in Roscommon, and they agreed to contact him on a weekly basis, should there be food at a sell-by date about to be taken off the shelves. Lidl is now in the process of joining up.

After the public meeting, it was agreed that the best use of shared resources was to distribute whatever perishable food would come from supermarkets, along with the FEAD supplies, through the Boyle Family Resource Centre. Ads were put in local papers, in church newsletters, on local community websites, and on the centre’s noticeboard; that food would be distributed there, beginning on a certain date.

“We had no idea what the demand would be like,” Deborah Rodden, the centre’s administrator says. The first afternoon they opened, at the end of the summer, more than 100 people turned up. Now they split the food distribution over two afternoons a week, and Moran knows that people are coming from within a 20-mile radius.

Working together

On the afternoon I visit, Scanlon has been on a run to Tesco in Sligo the evening before. If there is food to collect, he receives a text message. He drives there and back on his own time, and pays for his own petrol. He was in this store room last night, putting what he collected in Tesco into the donated fridge and freezer. Whatever can be frozen goes straight into the freezer.

Each time Scanlon goes to Sligo or Roscommon to collect the perishable food, what he brings back is different. It depends on whatever products are at their sell-by date at that time. A few weeks previously, he came back with several bags of celery and turnips. Even after distributing some the following day, they still had a large surplus of vegetables.

“I happened to mention to someone I know who runs a restaurant in town that we had all these turnips and celery,” Moran tells me. “They said, ‘Bring them to us, and we’ll make soup out of them.’” The soup was made, divided up into bags, frozen, and later distributed. “It’s an example of how a community can work together,” Moran says. “And I’m sure if I had asked, any other restaurant in town would have done the same.”

I look in the fridge. “There’s not much today,” volunteer Damien Fagan says, also looking in the fridge with a practised eye. He is one of 12 volunteers who help distributing food.

There is not much in the fridge – not much when you know a number of people will soon be arriving, all hoping to leave with something for their families. Some weeks there have been steaks, premium cuts of meat and lots of vegetables. Today there are four packets of sausages. Four bags of carrots. A couple of packets of stir-fry vegetables. A single cucumber. Two curry ready meals. Some bagged salad leaves. A couple of containers of hummus. A tub of custard.

In the freezer, there are mainly loaves of bread, bread rolls, buns, cookies, croissants and Danish pastries. There are a few apple pies, and the pink birthday cake.

The official hours of distribution are 2.30pm-4pm, although nobody who comes earlier is ever turned away. I go into the kitchen at the back of the centre, put away my notebook, and sit at the back of the room with a cup of tea, behind volunteer Wendy Power, who is at a table with the log book. People who attend are not asked for their names, but they are asked their ages, their nationality, and how many children they have under the age of 15. This is so that the volunteers filling their bags can adjust the contents as best they are able, and because records need to be kept for FEAD.

People start arriving before 2.30pm. They all come with well-worn shopping bags. Every week, new faces have presented, as word spreads through the locality. The previous week, more than 50 people availed of the service, representing 50 families. Scanlon also delivers food to some people who don’t wish to be seen presenting at the centre, while social workers also supply some families.

It is not an easy thing to come to a centre looking for food. But it is harder to see your children going hungry. I have asked Moran and the volunteers for some typical stories they hear from the people who arrive on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, looking for food.

Some people don’t say anything about their situations, they tell me. They hand over their bags quietly, write down their details, and disappear. Others have said they sometimes could not manage to have both lunch and dinner every day. Some parents have said they sometimes go hungry so that their children have enough to eat; that their own dinner is frequently a bowl of cereal. That by the end of the week, there is just not enough food left in the house.

Other parents have said that weekly bag of food from the centre allows them to use the money saved to put towards an activity for their child, or towards something their child needs at school, or save it for Christmas. There is no one reason why people need to avail of this food bank. As volunteer Patricia Jacobs says to me simply: “It’s amazing how quickly people’s circumstances can change.”

For one woman (whom I’ll call Sarah) it was the increased price of car insurance that pushed her family over the edge. Tony Scanlon says every story of need has one commonality: “It’s a variation on one story; more going out than there is coming in.” For Sarah and her husband, who are both in their 40s, and renting, things start to slowly get worse when their car insurance increased from €35 a month to €68. In addition, payments spread over 12 months have become much more expensive through the broker they are with, which has added an additional €300 to their annual bill.

A hospital stay in Galway by Sarah also put them under unexpected financial pressure. There was the cost of petrol for her husband to visit, car-parking fees and the cost of eating in the canteen there. She is currently unable to work through illness, and her husband gave up his job to be her carer. “We are living on the edge all the time. If petrol goes up by a few cents, that matters,” she says. “There is no spare cash. All our savings were spent on helping our children in college, and our daughter, who has had a baby.”

They have four children, one of whom still lives at home and is 17. “We have cut down hugely, but there are weeks when there is just not enough in the house, and we live on bread and soup for a few days. I think there are a lot of people living pay cheque to pay cheque and scraping by. As a society, we are good at covering things up. It was OK during the recession to say you had lost your job and times were hard, but it’s very hard to say in public, ‘I need food’, when we are supposed to be doing well again, and out of recession. People are bad at admitting things are tough: I am bad at admitting it.”

The money that Sarah can save by availing of a bag of groceries from the centre is carefully thought about. “It means I can put enough food on the table to have my daughter and her partner for dinner. Or buy formula for the baby. Or put some petrol in the car, so we can go somewhere and do something.”

Back in the kitchen, there is a small group of people waiting for their bags to be filled. Power chats to them and tells everyone who comes in to pass on the information about the food distribution. There are men of 70 and 22. An adult mother and daughter arrive together. One mother brings in her three small children with her, two in school uniform, who look around shyly. This mother tells Power her eldest child’s teacher sent him home with a bag of clothes the previous week, and how grateful she was. More than 15 people have come through the doors so far.

I go back out to the storeroom to watch Damien Fagan filling bags. I open the fridge. There is nothing left in it, except the cucumber and the tub of custard. Of the FEAD supplies, which were meant to last until Christmas, the tins of peas, corn and soup are now all finished. There are a few jars of coffee left, and when I check the box with the rice, only a few bags still remain.

The bags that Fagan is now filling are mainly full of breakfast cereal, frozen bread, buns, and pastries. Those he had filled at the start of the afternoon each contained something from the fridge, whether a package of sausages, or salad leaves, or stir-fry vegetables. The volunteers try to give everyone something perishable, but if there isn’t enough in the fridge, there isn’t enough to give everyone something extra. While I’m there, the last of the jars of coffee, packets of rice, and Cup-A-Soups also vanish. All that’s left now is breakfast cereal.

Moran comes into the room. “There’s a birthday,” she says. “A little girl who is going to be six. Her mother is out there and has asked if we had anything at all for her. I knew we would need that cake sometime.” She digs down into the freezer and finds the pink cake.

By the end of the afternoon, 21 people have come to the centre. Between them, they have 31 children under 15. They range in age from 22 to 70, and represent every kind of family unit; single people, single parents, two parents with two, three, four children. Power says that most of the people who arrived today, including the mother with the child about to turn six, were new to them. I look though the completed sheets of paper. Under the section for “nationality” all but two of the 21 have identified themselves as Irish. The other two are British.

“It’s my belief that we haven’t yet reached all the people we need to reach,” Scanlon says.

Louise Moran is not quite sure what is going to happen next. Lidl will soon be joining with Tesco and Aldi in agreeing to supply their perishables to Boyle’s Family Resource Centre. That means waiting for another text message each week, and another journey. Tony Scanlon, no matter how dedicated and driven a volunteer, cannot continue to take sole responsibility for collecting the perishable food his community clearly needs so badly. As he put it to me: “What happens if I get sick, and can’t go?” He doesn’t mention what happens when he would like to go on holiday, or has personal clashing commitments, or that he pays for the petrol himself.

Moran hopes other volunteers might come forward, perhaps to work together on a rota to drive and collect any food that is available. At the beginning of this experiment, they did not know if there was a need for the service in their community. Now they know there is. And they are wondering how representative their small town of Boyle is of the rest of the country. “We cannot be the only town in Ireland where people need to avail of a food bank,” Moran says.

Hardly an article to bring happiness and joy but ... how many can and will emphasis with our Irish neighbours ?

Food banks ... an epidemic in the social sense ... curable by medicine / antibiotics of the monetary kind !





10,000 BY EASTER 2018 ?





SURVEY RESULT ... 10 / 20 EVEN 50 ... AND YET A MINIMUM OF 50,000 DID.











" TOO RADICAL , TOO FRONTLINE , TOO ... ( silence ) ... "





Interlocking article ... today's Independent ... UC rollout & food banks ... almost joined at the hip ?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 48496.html

Government refuses to investigate whether people claiming Universal Credit are forced to use food banks.

Stance ‘only serves to demonstrate the contempt they have for the most vulnerable in our society,’ ministers are told.

Ministers are refusing to investigate evidence that people claiming Universal Credit are flocking to food banks, sparking accusations they have “contempt for the most vulnerable”.

Charities and MPs of all parties have warned that long delays delivering the new benefit payments have left desperate people with no choice but to seek out emergency food aid.

Research by the respected Trussell Trust, which runs the UK’s biggest food bank network, found that demand had soared by a staggering 30 per cent.

Now the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has insisted it will not “collect or publish statistics” to corroborate, or disprove, that evidence.

Ministers believe it is not possible to keep count of the number of people using food banks without imposing “unnecessary burdens” on the volunteers running them.

But the stance was condemned by Dan Jarvis, a Labour MP demanding action on rising food bank use, as proof of the Government’s willingness to accept the “suffering” being caused.

“This research by the Trussell Trust clearly demonstrates the link between the way in which the Government is delivering Universal Credit, and people’s dependency on food banks,” he told The Independent.

“The fact that the Government won’t even investigate the impact that the rollout of Universal Credit is having only serves to demonstrate the contempt they have for the most vulnerable in our society.”

Mark Ward, the Trussell Trust’s interim chief executive, also said it was vital that the Government measure “the true scale of hunger”.

“Only then can we start developing proper national solutions to an issue that is growing more serious by the day,” he said.

“Though our network accounts for two-thirds of all food bank provision across the UK, it can’t give us information on how many people are helped by independent food banks, or the number of people hidden away, only just coping by skipping meals. That’s why we’ve always been clear our figures are just the tip of iceberg.”

The criticism comes as Theresa May faces a Commons defeat over delays that claimants face for their payments.Tory backbenchers have joined calls for the long wait before a first payment comes through – currently six weeks – to be cut.

A recent poll for The Independent found that three-quarters of British people – including most Conservative voters – want payment delivery to be speeded up significantly.

But there are wider criticisms that Universal Credit is causing problems beyond the controversy over the wait for payments. Experts say it penalises the self-employed, people working part-time and women, because payments go to a single household earner – usually a man.

And cuts to the “work allowance” – the amount of earnings claimants can keep before losing benefits – have swiped more than £1,200 a year from two-children families in which both parents work.

The shake-up replaces six different working-age benefits with a single payment, making the system simpler to understand and administer, Ms May has insisted.

But the Trussell Trust said its figures showed food bank use in areas where Universal Credit was been introduced is up by an average of 30 per cent since April.

In areas not yet reached by the new benefit, demand has also risen significantly – but by 12 per cent, less than half as much.

The organisation warned that food banks will struggle to meet the soaring need for emergency supplies this Christmas, partly because of the six-wait for Universal Credit.

Separately, the Peabody Trust housing association, one of the UK’s biggest social landlords, has calculated the delays will put about 23,000 families – with 41,000 children – at risk of destitution in the run-up to Christmas.

The problems are likely to escalate with the extension of Universal Credit. Even by the end of January, only 10 per cent of benefits claimants will be receiving it.

The DWP’s position was revealed when Mr Jarvis asked a parliamentary question to find out “whether the usage of food banks has changed in places where Universal Credit has been rolled out”.

The response said: “This Department has made no assessment of recent trends in food bank use, and has no plans to collect or publish statistics.”

The delay between people making a claim and receiving their first payment is designed to mimic waiting for a first pay cheque after starting a job.

Quizzed by Jeremy Corbyn in the Commons recently, the Prime Minister insisted that advance payments were available for people who needed help to bridge the gap.

A DWP spokesman said: “Reasons for food bank use are complex, so it’s misleading to link them to any one issue.

“We’re rolling out Universal Credit in a safe and secure way, monitoring its impact and making improvements to ensure people are getting the support they need.

“This includes strengthening the safety net around advance payments to make sure people know the maximum they can get upfront.”

From almost a standing start a mere 5 years ago , Trussells are now the NUMBER ONE supporting organisation ... they DELIVER precisely what their clients need ... the basic essentials to survive ... and occasionly live.

Some of the larger ones are more like department stores ... basic essentials don't stop at just food and energy.

There is no argument whatsoever here ... imagine IF there were no food banks ... ???

When it comes to information , who would YOU rather believe ... Trussells or the DWP ?

Over ONE MILLION visits in the last callender year ... FIFTY THOUSAND PLUS by our fellow carers ... ONE AND A HALF MILLION in the next ?

Welcome , indeed , to this Sad New World ...

More on football clubs rallying to the cause ... this time London ( The Smoke ).

QPR and Millwall leading the way ... mention of the Midlands ... Aston Villa and Birmingham :

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/ ... 93596.html

QPR has become the second London football club to ask fans to bring spare groceries to a match to donate to a local food bank.

Supporters will be asked to bring surplus non-perishable items such as tinned fruit, tinned vegetables, tinned meat, tinned rice pudding, instant mash and powdered milk to tomorrow’s Championship clash with Aston Villa.

They will be able to donate the contributions at three collection points around the club’s Loftus Road ground. Similar schemes have been organised by clubs such as Liverpool, Everton, Burnley, Newcastle United and Rangers and Millwall.

The donations will be handed over to a food bank in Hammersmith & Fulham borough.

Hoops winger David Wheeler, who visited one of the centres this week with fellow player Chris Paul to help pack prepare emergency food packs, said: “The more people that bring what they can is obviously going to help the people in desperate need, the people that can’t afford to buy their own food. Not only would that help the people that are in dire need, it would also help raise awareness of the issue.”

Hammersmith & Fulham council leader Stephen Cowan, said: “QPR is one of the great football clubs of this country and we’re deeply proud to have it in the borough. They are much more than a football club.

“It’s great to have David and Chris showing their compassion and doing their bit to support the fight against food poverty.”

Saturday’s donations of non-perishable food will go towards three-day emergency food packs that are given to people who are referred to the foodbank when in crisis. Daphine Aikens, founder and chief executive of Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank, said: “The reality of hunger in our community must be given the attention it deserves.

We are really grateful that QPR are having an event for us on Saturday, which we’re really excited about.”

The three collection points on Saturday are: The Family FanZone, Play Football Shepherds Bushon South Africa Road; outside the main reception, also on South Africa Road, and on the corner of Loftus Road and Ellerslie Road

Whilst it is ALWAYS pleasing to see the " Grass Roots " starting an iniative such as this , the disturbing question to always consider is ... why ?

If nothing else , those using food banks will see that they are NOT alone ... others are aware of their predicament.

Question now is ... what of our supporting organisations ... for us and carees alike ?

Are THEY still burying their heads in the sand ?

Or , are THEY going to rise to the challenge I made a couple of postings ago ?????



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