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FOOD / Energy / Clothing BANKS : MORE A HUMANITARIAN THREAD ? 100,000+ Carers Reported As Needing Them In 2018 - Page 14 - 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.
374 posts
Ground zero ... Greenwich , South East London ... a " Desirable " place to live ... for some ?

Property prices :

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices ... 61226.html

Meanwhile , at street level :

https://www.londonnewsonline.co.uk/gree ... d-poverty/

Greenwich schools fighting child poverty.

Three South-east London schools are at the forefront of the battle against child poverty as figures show that the number of families seeking emergency help from food banks is increasing.

The Inspire Partnership has three primary schools in Greenwich – Foxfield Primary, Rockcliffe Manor and Woodhill – where a majority of the students come from disadvantaged backgrounds and many families have had to use the Greenwich food bank service.

But Inspire chief executive Rob Carpenter is determined not to let this define their lives.

Mr Carpenter said: “We have done home visits to some families and found kids sleeping on air beds that have got holes in them because mice have chewed through the airbed.

“We’re seeing an increasing number of kids coming to school without coats or school uniform, appropriate packed lunches or food.

“One of our children, who is a refugee, has just been struck down by cancer. She had just come from Syria to one of our schools and she is in remission. She is still having to go to hospital and she is off sick at the moment.”

The school has a teaching method called Useful Learning Mistakes. Whenever a child makes a mistake they are told that this is not an issue, instead it is an opportunity to grow and learn.

Mr Carpenter said: “We don’t want kids to be defined by mistakes that happen. Particularly when you have faced a huge amount of struggle in your life. We don’t want kids to feel that that shapes their future.

“We teach topics on the Syrian refugee crisis, topics about poverty and social justice.

“We teach about integration and the need to promote cohesive communities.

“I think this has had a massive impact on how our kids think and feel about school.”

The number of families visiting the Greenwich Foodbank has increased by more than 20 per cent, according to Trussell Trust figures.

Between April and September 2016 the Greenwich Foodbank gave out 2,858 three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis during this time.

This figure increased by 24 per cent to 3,535 in the same period in 2017 and almost half, 1,587, of these meals went to children.

Teachers and parents from the Inspire schools ran the Big Half earlier in the month in an effort to raise money for the Greenwich Foodbank.

Mr Carpenter said: “Our schools predominantly serve disadvantaged communities and we feel passionately about how we serve them.

“Some of our families are using the foodbank and we thought it was an appropriate charity to support.

“It has a national footprint and it’s relevant to the context of our schools and our vision for supporting disadvantaged children.”

More than 40 teachers and parents took part in the 12.1-mile race, including Mr Carpenter.
As a Trust it raised £1,847, with £1,372 from Woodhill and £475 from Foxfield.

Probably another hundred or so similar articles if I trawl further across the Internet ?
Ground zero ... Bournemouth ... a town / area considered to be " Very desirable " ... for some , think again :

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/1 ... ng_demand/

Demand on Bournemouth Foodbank forces move to new office and warehouse.

THE demand and use of Bournemouth Foodbank has forced staff to relocate to a new bigger office and warehouse - but the move still requires more than £7,000 of funding.

In the past 12 months the organisation has fed 5,961 people with three-day emergency food parcels. This is an increase of 24 per cent on the previous year's total.

Staff at the food bank say they expect the need to worsen as living costs soar and public services come under further strain.

This increased demand is behind the group needing to expand and adapt their operations.

By moving to the new office and warehouse at St George's Methodist Church in Boscombe from the end of this month, the food bank hope to continue to provide the service that an increasing number of people in the community rely on.

However, at present there is £7,700 funding shortfall for the initial set up costs.

Ed Briggs, fundraising manager at Bournemouth Foodbank, said: "Anyone with a growing family will understand the need to find a bigger home and all the excitement that’s involved in moving. That’s a lot like how we are feeling at Bournemouth Foodbank right now.

"We will soon be opening our sixth distribution centre to clients and we need more space for food storage and processing at our warehouse to support this growing network of churches who open their doors to local people in crisis.

"We still need to raise money for the new office and warehouse, so if anyone is able to support with this please get in touch. It would be really appreciated and help us to continue to provide the service people rely on."

The Daily Echo reported earlier this year that the food bank needs donations and support all year round, especially during summer school holidays when families are stretched.

Bournemouth Foodbank's current base at Wessex House in Charminster has been the centre of the operation, which is part of the national Trussell Trust, for the last eight years.

In that time, landlords Bourne 2 Let have helped the food bank to meet increased needs. However, a bigger facility is now needed.

During the move to Boscombe, those in need of crisis support will not be affected and distribution centres will continue to open at their respective times.

Before starting up at the new office a renovation is required and this is being supported by local groups and businesses. Specialist flooring and shelving is being purchased and fitted by teams from Foresters Financial and JP Morgan, while the Rotary Club have pledged further funds towards the fitting out of the new facility.

For more details about the work Bournemouth Foodbank does visit bournemouth.foodbank.org.uk

So much for affluent areas ?

Meanwhile , back in the not so affluent areas .... ???
Ground zero ... Bradford , West Yorshire :

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/n ... a_quarter/

Bradford Central Foodbank use up by nearly a quarter.

A BRADFORD food bank has revealed it is helping almost 25 per cent more families now than it did last year.

Bradford Central Foodbank, located in Stott Hill in the city centre, helped feed 3,864 people from 1,793 households over the past 12 months. Of this number, 1,367 were children.

These figures are up 23 per cent from the previous year, and the food bank relies on donations from the public, schools, places of worship and businesses to provide food to people living in poverty.

Foodbank manager Josie Barlow told the T&A: “Bradfordians should be proud of themselves for their generosity. We are giving away around £900 worth of food every week and none of this would be possible without kind donations.”

Ms Barlow said that about half the food bank’s clients needed to use their services because of changes to the benefits system.

She said: “Changes to people’s benefits typically come with delays of several weeks where people are stuck without any money coming in so we help them through that emergency period. We are also seeing more people sanctioned for one reason or another and losing their benefits for long periods of time.”

Other reasons people turned to the food bank included health problems and homelessness, she said.

One person helped by the food bank spoke about how the support she received helped her to eat and get back on her feet.

She said: “I was really struggling. I had been in a coma and was really poorly. I’d fallen out with my family and I’d not eaten for three days. It was my local MP, Imran Hussain, who told me to go to Foodbank. I contacted them, they told me to come down and I got a parcel.

She added: “Speaking to volunteers gave me the confidence to go and get a job too.

“As well as working, I also I volunteer Wednesday and Friday in the food bank too - it’s like going to see your friends.

“If it wasn’t for Foodbank I wouldn’t be here.”

The food bank’s Scott Hill base unveiled new signs yesterday donated by XPO Logistics, a delivery firm based at the top of the M606.

Ms Barlow said: “They had a massive collection of food for us from their staff just before Christmas and since then we’ve become one of their three charities of the year.

“The signs are great because we have never really had anything in place before to make clear where we are - we used to get people calling us to say they couldn’t find us! Now we have two new signs that will make it easier for those who need our help.”


Ground zero ... West Cheshire :

https://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/news ... t-14512609

More than 5,000 people using West Cheshire Foodbank...and number is rising.

Council aims to give a voice to people experiencing poverty at the sharp-end

The number of adults and children using West Cheshire Foodbank has gone up by almost 10% over a three-year period.

In 2013/14 there were 4,935 recipients which had risen to 5,409 by 2015/16.

This increase in poverty both locally and across the UK prompted Cheshire West and Chester Council to set up West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission more than a year ago.

The aim is for those experiencing poverty at the sharp-end to help shape the way the borough’s leaders make decisions affecting support services.

However, the council – which continues to face massive government cuts – is not beyond criticism having been forced to take tough decisions that will hit those on low incomes.

For example, it has come under fire for an almost 5% rise in council tax, cuts to services such as children’s centres and some council-owned companies like Edsential do not pay the Living Wage.

Nevertheless, supporters of West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission recently came together to celebrate the commission’s achievements at an event hosted by Chester Racecourse. Another is planned over the summer.

Dedicated residents supporting the commission, now called ‘community inspirers’, have worked alongside civic and business leaders to highlight their own experiences and struggles. The groups have met regularly with clear action plans in place, looking at processes, problems with systems and potential solutions.

The West Cheshire Poverty Truth commission has been successful in raising the profile of poverty, having been invited to the House of Commons to share their experiences with MPs on the impact of welfare reform, including benefit sanctions, universal credit and PIP assessments.

Media coverage of the commission has highlighted the growing concern of poverty in the UK, with community inspirers appearing on the Sunday Politics Show, BBC News and Dee 106.

Ali, a community inspirer from Frodsham , said “I have really enjoyed being part of the commission and giving a voice to others. It has been an amazing experience. We came together as different people to create a better life for all people and I believe our voices are being heard to make change happen.”

Henry Terefenko, director of operations at ForHousing which manages 5,500 homes in Ellesmere Port and Neston in partnership with landlord CWAC, is co-chair of the benefit system sub-group at the commission.

He said: “Working with the commission has been a great experience for me and has made me look at systems and processes differently within ForHousing. I have also seen the community inspirers grow and develop as individuals, feel empowered and grow in confidence.”

Councillor Nicole Meardon , cabinet member for children and families, said: “I am so proud of the achievements of the community inspirers. They have had a considerably successful year, not just on their own personal development but having their voices heard by MPs on a national level at the House of Commons.

“We have listened to residents at the heart of poverty, understanding not just the physical, but mental and psychological impact poverty can have on our residents.

“These community inspirers are influencing changes in current systems and processes, tackling poverty and inequality and helping to improve the lives of our residents.”

The commission has opened up new opportunities to the community inspirers, with a few securing permanent jobs and voluntary work. Their contribution has helped improve housing benefit letters and helped develop a more reader-friendly Local Offer website.

And the commission is encouraging organisations to sign this commitment ‘I pledge to treat you how you want to be treated’ with an emphasis on a two-way relationship between employers and employees/customers with implied honesty, openness and respect.

The pledge aims to have a positive impact on the mental health of people in vulnerable situations. For more information on the pledge, visit: www. cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/povertytruth.

If you have experienced poverty and are interested in getting involved in the work of the commission, e-mail: WestCheshire.PovertyTruth@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

To save all the Dogooders in Cheshire time and failed effort , just look up the word MULTIPLIER as used in basic economic theory.

The more money sucked out of a manor , the less there is to spend / circulate.

Money is NOT a cure for all ails ... it is ESSENTIAL for putting food on the table , energy to keep from freezing to death , and keeping a roof over one's head !!!
Ground zero ... Darlington , Durham ... a fresh fruit and vegetable initiative :

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/l ... _produce_/

Can you help High Grow Darlo to grow half a ton of foodbank produce ?

MOUNTAINS of fresh fruit and vegetables will be packed into parcels and given to some of Darlington’s most vulnerable people, thanks to kind-hearted volunteers.

Community group High Grow Darlo are devoted to ensuring as many people as possible reap the benefits of a healthy diet.

Those behind the project work tirelessly to provide fresh produce for free, planting vegetables in planters around Darlington and launching regular initiatives to inspire youngsters and the wider community to eat well.

Every year, the group sets itself a challenge and this year’s task will see their committed volunteers provide for those struggling with food poverty.

High Grow Darlo’s aim for 2018 is to produce half a ton of fresh food for foodbanks in the town, which distribute thousands of free meals a week to those in need.

Work has already begun, with the town’s mayor, Cllr Jan Taylor, helping to prepare the ground by digging out the first bed.

She said: “The Half-Ton Challenge is an amazing new project and I am so proud and pleased to support it in Darlington.

“The impact on our foodbanks will be massive - we all know how important it is to eat fresh food.

“This is yet another example of how our community can pull together to help each other and I would ask anyone who feels they can help to get in touch with them."

Caroline Todd, foodbank manager for Kings Church and St Columba, said the initiative would help them as they battle to meet demand, supplying 1,400 meals a week.

She said: “Just to know that we will be able to put fresh produce into everyone’s emergency food parcels without rationing will be a great blessing.

“High Grow Darlo’s help in supplying organically home grown fruit and vegetables on this level will enable us to keep on making up the well balanced bags of food that we distribute.

“We are so thankful for their hard work and support of foodbanks, and are extremely grateful for every donation that we receive. It just shows the heart of a community who want to help those who are less fortunate than others.”

High Grow volunteers are currently drawing up plans to hit their target and believe supplies will begin to flow out from June onwards.

Chair Michael Hall thanked all who have supported the project as he appealed for volunteers to join the team, saying: ": we have been desperately short of volunteers and anyone who would like to help with any of our activities should get in touch with us by e-mail highgrowdarlo1@gmail.com."

Similarities with several Second World War initiatives ?


Then , we were fighting the Germans.

Some 73+ years later , are we " Fighting " Austerity ... or , one step removed , our own Government ?

For low millions , it seems that way ... ???
Ground zero ... Liverpool ... a " Half way solution " to bridge the gap between the supermarkets and food banks ?

https://lbndaily.co.uk/community-market ... foodbanks/

Community market in Liverpool will offer low-cost food to cut reliance on foodbanks.

A new weekly community market that will offer surplus supermarket food at low prices will start opening in Liverpool from Monday, April 23.

Running from 11am to 2pm every Monday, except Bank Holidays, the market will be based at St Michael in the City on Upper Pitt Street, close to the Baltic Triangle area and its aim is to help those struggling to make ends meet.

It works through being able to sell food that supermarkets have deemed surplus to requirements. This way the produce is cheaper than in regular shops giving more choice and flexibility. Markets like this have been shown to help prevent people having to turn to the emergency aid that foodbanks offer.

Figures show that 64% of people in the Riverside area of the city are either unemployed, receiving sickness benefit, retired, students or homemakers. Many bring in less than the national average income and risk falling into genuine hardship.

The community market has been set up by Micah Liverpool, a charity which aims to achieve justice, fairness and well-being for people in the city. The market will complement the work being carried out by Micah Liverpool through its emergency food aid foodbank which operates from St Bride’s and St Vincent’s church buildings.

St Michael in the City is one of three churches that form the Team Parish of St Luke In The City, named after the original name of the Bombed Out Church.

The church has space to offer this community market, is ideally located for customers and so was a logical choice to host this. Micah Liverpool also plans to open a community café.

Paul O’Brien, executive director of Micah Liverpool, said “ The scandal of society is that so many people are driven into poverty because they don’t have affordable options to choose from. "

“The community market offers people on low income a chance to manage their budgets and feed their families preventing them from hitting the crisis point. We want to get to a point where we no longer need to give emergency food aid through foodbanks.”

Micah Liverpool is a charity launched in partnership between Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and St Bride’s Church.

On the assumption that this scheme is non profit making ... beyond the recovery of minimal costs ... it has to be applauded.

Any measure to stop some getting " Addicted " to food banks must be encouraged ... every person has to take some responsibility for how resources are spent ... even meagre ones.

Having said that , and with NO limits imposed on increases to housing / energy / transport / food costs , that " Responsibility " does not exist ... except on paper ?
As predicted ... another record breaking year ... how the Government must be proud of itself ???

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... it-figures

People with 'nowhere else to turn' fuel rise in food bank use – study

Trussell Trust says it gave out a record 1.3m food parcels last year, up 13% on 2016-17

Vulnerable people left with “nowhere else to turn” after experiencing problems with universal credit helped fuel a big increase in food bank use over the past year, according to the Trussell Trust.

The UK’s biggest food bank network, whose annual figures provide a broad index of social hardship, gave out a record 1.3m food parcels to an estimated 666,000 people in 2017-18, up 13% on the previous year.

However, food banks in areas where the full universal credit service had been in place for 12 months or more were four times as busy, recording an average 52% increase in the number of three-day emergency food packages distributed.

The trust said many universal credit claimants had come to food banks after long waits for payment and administrative problems pushed them into debt, ill health and rent arrears.

“This completely unacceptable. We need to move towards a UK where no one needs a food bank’s help, not a country where charity provision is the only defence from utter destitution,” said Emma Revie, the trust’s chief executive.

Research into the experiences of food bank users published by the trust on Tuesday found a “significant scale” of poor benefits administration, coupled with widespread evidence that universal credit provided insufficient income to cover basic living costs.

Claimants reported they found the digital-only universal credit service hard to navigate, with little or no official support or financial assistance to help them cope or tide them over a minimum six-week wait for a first payment.

Several told the trust that lack of money meant they had been forced to give up a home internet connection or smartphone, making it harder to access the benefit.

The report says: “Rather than acting as a service to ensure people do not face destitution, the evidence suggests that for people on the very lowest incomes … the poor functioning of universal credit can actually push people into a tide of bills, debts and, ultimately, lead them to a food bank.

“People are falling through the cracks in a system not made to hold them. What little support available is primarily offered by the third sector, whose work is laudable, but cannot be a substitute for a real, nationwide safety net.”

The trust called for an urgent inquiry into the administration of universal credit and an end to the benefits freeze, as well as more practical help for the poorest claimants.

The trust surveyed 284 users of 30 food banks in England, Scotland and Wales during February and March. Disabled people, claimants affected by chronic health conditions and families with dependent children were especially vulnerable to problems arising from the design or operation of universal credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions criticised the survey as a “small self-selecting sample” carried out before a series of changes came into force designed to mitigate the impact of universal credit, such as reducing the minimum wait for a first payment to five weeks and providing two weeks’ extra housing support for claimants moving on to the benefit.

Ministers were forced to introduce the changes last year after sustained criticism from campaigners, landlords, opposition parties and even Conservative backbenchers.

The trust said the fastest-growing group of food bank users over the past year was made up of people reliant on benefits for income, suggesting the government’s freeze on social security benefits for the past two years was making it increasingly hard for the poorest to meet basic living costs.

Revie said: “It’s hard to break free from hunger if there isn’t enough money coming in to cover the rising cost of absolute essentials like food and housing. For too many people, staying above water is a daily struggle.”

The trust said more than 484,000 food packages were allocated to families with children in 2017-18, 36% of the food packages provided by the trust in the year to March.

The highest reason for referral was low income (28%), followed by benefit delays (24%) and changes, including sanctions (18%). Debt run up in order to meet housing costs and energy bills accounted for an increasing percentage of food bank referrals.

NOTE the similarity of the information available in the article and that being gathered by Carers UK in their annual survey.

One shows , the other will show , a marked deterioration in survival / life in this Sad New World.

One common factor ... money ... the very lifeblood of any free market economy.

Restrict that and there will be problems ... especially for those who cannot " Earn " enough lifeblood through disability / age / caring.

The rollout of UC also acts as a great constrictor on the supply of vital lifeblood ... if only for the first few months as low millions have to readjust.

In summary , a brutal indictment of deliberate Government policy ... a social war against it's own citizens !!!
Strange ... how articles like the one that follows hardly raises the temperature in 2018.

Same for a mere decade ago ???

Food banks ... part and parcel of today's Sad New World.

By 2028 , turnover rivaling some of the smaller supermarket chains ???

https://fundraising.co.uk/2018/04/26/50 ... ood-ocado/

Over £500k of food donated through Donate Food with Ocado.

Ocado’s food matching scheme Donate Food has now given the equivalent of over £500k to food banks in the UK.

Donate Food with Ocado launched in 2014 and sees every pound given by customers matched by at least £2 worth of groceries to food banks. Under the scheme, customers can add a specified amount, either £2.50, £5 or £10, to their online trolley as a donation towards groceries for food banks, which Ocado then matches, giving products worth the total amount to food banks.

The food banks specify what items they need by providing Ocado with regularly updated shopping lists, such as fresh vegetables, tea bags, or loaves of bread, and receive only these items.

From December 2014 to November 2017, Ocado customers donated £261,195 with Ocado matching it with food worth £522,390, and weighing 90 tonnes.

In addition, Ocado currently works with 17 Food Partners to help minimise its food wastage, including food banks and charities, as well as animal parks and other organisations. Last month it revealed that its total food waste figure was just 0.02%: 1 in 6,000 items.

It redistributed 2,200 tonnes of food to its partners in 2017, including independent food banks close to its Customer Fulfilment Centres, such as Ediblelinks in Warwickshire and DENS in Hertfordshire, which then redistribute food to individuals and families in need, or to community groups.

I will give Ocado the benefit of the doubt here.

A good cause ... rather than a publicity stunt ?

In today's Sad New World , nothing is ever what it appears !!!
Ground zero ... Berkshire ... where , according to my old mates , Traffic , the poppies grow so pretty !


Nice manor ... for some ?

https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/the-n ... ire-soars/

The number of people using foodbanks in Berkshire soars.

The Trussell Trust has seen a huge increase in the number of people needing emergency food parcels.

Foodbank usage has soared across Berkshire in the last year, with inadequate benefits blamed for the rise.

More than 12,200 emergency food packages were handed out in the county by Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2017/18 - the equivalent of 34 every day.

That’s up from fewer than 10,600 three-day food supplies that were given to people in crisis the year before - an increase of 16 per cent.

More than 4,700 of the food packages handed out in Berkshire in the last year went to children.

"It's completely unacceptable that anyone is forced to turn to a foodbank"

However, The Trussell Trust only supports four foodbanks in Berkshire - Bracknell, Wokingham, Crowthorne and Slough - so these figures don't take into account the food parcels distributed by Readifood in Reading or Woodley Foodbank.

As of April 2018 Readifood was delivering an average of 160 parcels a week (around 8,320 in 2017/18), that's up from 135 a week the year before, or just over 7,000 parcels in 2016/17.

The Trust’s figures reveal the number of foodbank referrals due to benefit levels not covering the costs of essentials has been driving this increase overall.

They argue this trend suggests an urgent need to look at the adequacy of current benefit levels.

Emma Revie, chief executive of The Trussell Trust, said: "As a nation we expect no one should be left hungry or destitute – illness, disability, family breakdown or the loss of a job could happen to any of us, and we owe it to each other to make sure sufficient financial support is in place when we need it most.

"It's hard to break free from hunger if there isn't enough money coming in to cover the rising cost of absolute essentials like food and housing.

"For too many people staying above water is a daily struggle. It's completely unacceptable that anyone is forced to turn to a foodbank as a result.

"Universal Credit is the future of our benefits system. It's vital we get it right, and ensure levels of payment keep pace with the rising cost of essentials, particularly for groups of people we know are already more likely to need a foodbank - disabled people, people dealing with an illness, families with children and single parents."

Across the UK, more than 1.3m food packages were handed out over the course of 2017-18, and around 484,000 of these went to children.

That’s up by 13 per cent from fewer than 1.2m emergency supplies the year before - the largest year-on-year increase on record.

As well as people on low incomes not receiving enough benefits to get by, some of the main reasons for people using foodbanks were changes made to the amount of benefits they received and delays to payments.

On top of calling for benefits to be uprated in line with inflation to ensure payments keep pace with the cost of living, Trussell Trust is also asking for an urgent inquiry into poor administration within Universal Credit, so errors such as incorrect payments along with poor communication issues can be tackled.

Debt also accounts for an increasing percentage of referrals, and the statistics show the essential costs of housing and utility bills in particular are increasingly driving foodbank usage.

Carers Week shortly ... a tie in with Trussells a must ???
Back to the footie connection , Newcastle United have finally reached the summit of the Foodbank Premiership !!!

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/no ... d-14606121

NUFC fans have raised £150,000 of food and cash for Geordies forced to rely on foodbanks.

Fans, musicians, artists and rugby followers have all played their part in the 15 months since NUFC fans were inspired to feed communities in need.

Back in January 2017, a group of Newcastle United fans were left so shocked by the poverty depicted in I, Daniel Blake that they decided something had to be done.

The supporters had watched Ken Loach’s award-winning film on the devastating impacts of austerity at a screening held in the Tyneside Irish Centre.

One of I, Daniel Blake's most shocking scenes is filmed in Newcastle’s West End Foodbank , which feeds around 1,000 people from Newcastle’s poorest and most vulnerable communities every week. For those who doubt the tales told in the film, West End Foodbank’s former manager Michael Nixon, who retired earlier this year when John McCorry took over, told ChronicleLive that the situation is so dire that viewers sat in a cinema would not believe some of the stories he witnessed every day.

Those sat in the Irish Centre last night believed what they saw. A group pledged to help feed their city - and they found a way.

Newcastle United’ s St James’ Park is barely a minute’s walk from the Irish Centre. The football stadium is a place where 50,000 people from across the North East and beyond gather regularly. Where better to launch a call to arms to fight for Newcastle’s struggling and hungry?

On Saturday February 5, the collections started, ahead of United’s match with Derby County. The NUFC Fans’ Foodbank was born.

And 15 months on, Geordies - and visiting fans - have donated an astonishing amount: the collections at matches, events and the foodbank’s Grainger Market donation point have pulled in £150,000 of groceries and cash. The figure was revealed by a NUFC Fans United representative at the club’s recent fans forum.

Bill Corcoran, of the Tyneside Irish Centre, told ChronicleLive how the collections show the united nature of Newcastle as a city. Artists, rugby fans, football fanzine True Faith, musicians and volunteers are among those who have played their part.

Bill said: “We had a report out, I think on our first anniversary, where we worked out that if we monetise the food we collect, a ton of food works out as £2,000. That’s how we got that figure.

“We did that before the Burnley game on January 31, and worked out we’d collected/raised £110,000. Since then, we’ve had six match day collections; we had our first Newcastle Falcons collection - which did quite well, £500 and half a ton of food; we’ve had more donations in the Grainger Market and the True Faith Forum nights raised £7,000.”

Toon manager Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United players including Kenedy, Paul Dummett and Martin Dubravka all donated personalised art , which has been auctioned off to fans. That alone could raise up to £10,000, which will help cover the two months when supporters won’t be visiting St James’ Park every other week.

“The art is almost paying for the post season, it’s the equivalent of six home matches that we are going to miss,” added Bill.

Collections will be held outside Ed Sheeran’s run of St James’ Park concerts in June, while there is also a plan to ask for donations during the upcoming rugby league Magic Weekend.

Bill says the council and football club’s co-operation has been vital for arranging the donation stations.

He also pointed to the work Newcastle United’s Foundation quietly puts in behind the scenes, while the impact of the club’s association with West End Foodbank can not be overstated.

Bill said: “Michael Nixon [former West End Foodbank manager], he said as soon as Newcastle United Football Club became associated with it, donations to food bank, collections in supermarkets doubled overnight. That shows the power that Newcastle United has.

“It’s perhaps not recognised how much they do with their Foundation for our young people, it all goes together.

“It sounds like a cliché to say it, but it’s a united effort and always will be.”

On a wider issue , both central and local government have a role to play.

HOWEVER , when it comes to life / survival at street level , only the locals on any manor can take affirmative action !!!!

In essence , a whole new structure , of sorts , that must be encouraged to expand across the country.

Only then will " Democracy " enter into our lives as opposed to the system that is loaded in favour of preserving power and wealth to the detriment of the masses.

" If voting made any difference , they would make it illegal ! "

Said words uttered more than a hundred years ago.

Still very apt ... so long as the present system stumbles from one crisis to another ... crises of it's own making !!!
Ground zero ... Whitehawk , East Sussex ... again , a VERY desirable area ... for some ... and yet , just one pocket of that area ?

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/16213484 ... l_average/

Whitehawk food bank usage up three times more than national average.

THE rise in use of food banks in one of Brighton’s most deprived areas is more than three times the national average.

Whitehawk Foodbank has seen a year-on-year increase of 40 per cent in the number of people it supplies since it opened at St Cuthmans Church three years ago.

Nationally, the average increase is 13 per cent.

The figures released last week by the Trussell Trust, which runs the Whitehawk branch, reveal 1,328 people were fed by its three-day emergency food supplies from April 1 last year to March 31 this year.

Of that number, 414 were children.

Anne Amner, of the food bank in Whitehawk Way, invited The Argus to the church to see how it works and speak to a user of the service.

She said: “We’ve got really busy. The numbers have really increased, but people are very motivated to help us.”

Ms Amner said one small event in someone’s life can have a huge knock-on effect.

She said the worst case that has forced someone into using the Whitehawk Foodbank was a man who had broken up with his girlfriend.

He worked full time in maintenance but then had to sleep on a friend’s sofa and soon after injured himself in an accident at work.

Because he could not work, he lost his job.

“He went from having a girlfriend to having no relationship, no money, nowhere to live and no job,” Ms Amner said.

“He had to claim benefits, something he never did before. Things can just flip upside down so quickly.”

From April 1, 2015, when the Whitehawk bank opened, to March 31, 2016, it had 350 clients.

However, the number of users is greater, as they are going to feed families. The 350 supplies that year fed 836 people.

The following year, there were 326 clients, feeding 950 people.

In the past 12 months, 671 clients have used the food bank, feeding the 1,328.

That takes the total number of clients over the three years to 1,452, with 3,133 being aided by the service.

Doug Curties, manager of the Whitehawk Foodbank, said: “We don’t want to be here for ever.

“No one in Whitehawk and East Brighton should need a food bank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all.”

It is more than just food offered at the church, though.

Financial advice is available to users of the service to help them learn and balance their money situations – something, the bank says, is typically the root of many clients’ problems.

The team of some 20 volunteers make the process run like clockwork, taking hours out of their Wednesday to assort the many donated items into groups.

There are hygiene items such as toothbrushes, shampoos and conditioners in one section. Even pet food is donated for the clients with animals.

The food bank team is split into five sections: befrienders, who spend time with users; runners, who take the food to them; packers, who put together the hampers; re-stockers, who take food from the store room; and store room teams, who assort the donations.

'I didn't want to be given food by someone else'

TONY Smedley has been using the Whitehawk Foodbank for the past eight months.

A father of three, he fell on hard times for family reasons and could not afford to provide for his wife and daughter, who he lives with, every day of the week.

Tony, of Plaistow Close in Whitehawk, could barely bring himself to go to St Cuthmans Church after being referred by his doctor.

“The first day I came here, I stood outside for ten minutes and was almost sick,” 49-year-old Tony said.

“I thought to myself, ‘I’m a grown man, I can’t do this’.

“I didn’t want to get given food from other people. But as soon as I came in the staff made me feel comfortable and not ashamed.

“It’s not a very pleasurable experience but the people that are here make it a pleasure in a way.

“They are coming from a good place and want to help.”

Tony moved to Brighton from Epsom 20 years ago with his wife and two young children.

He worked full time at a Sainsbury’s store but could not afford rent and went into arrears, later being evicted.

Tony moved south and was transferred to a Sainsbury’s branch here.

But the mental damage of being kicked out of his home became too much for him.

“The stress of being evicted and moving was too much,” he said.

“Having two young children made it even harder.

“It brought on anxiety and depression and I’ve suffered from it since. I had to leave the job because of it.”

Sitting in the food bank talking to The Argus, Tony is very open about his personal life and reveals the details of his life over the past two decades.

He had another daughter three years after he moved to Brighton and managed to get back into full-time work.

A cabinet maker by trade, Tony began working for a crafting company for about three years.

However, things soon got bad again. “The company went bankrupt,” Tony said. “Since then, I haven’t worked. It’s all been too much.”

Tony has been out of a job for the past 12 years, claiming employment and support allowance, given to people who are ill or disabled and cannot work because of this.

Between him and his wife, the household receives £330 per fortnight, but it is not enough to cover for his daughter as well, falling short by about £70 – and this is why he comes to the food bank.

He is a regular visitor, going along each Wednesday for a three-day supply of food. Tony gets a selection of non-perishable food, helping him scrape by.

He said the past couple of years have been tough – because of family reasons.

He said: “It has been a horrendous two years,” said Tony. “We are on a slow road to recovery.

“I just want to try to support my family in any way I can.”

The food bank has helped Tony have a new outlook on life.

He believed he was in a “downwards spiral”, unable to cover bills and put food on the table – it was one or the other.

“Did I think there wasn’t a light at the end of the tunnel? Of course,” Tony said.

“But things are getting better.

“Sitting in the food bank once a week, you get to see all kinds of people from addicts to people who have just fallen through the system that’s meant to catch them.”

Tony wants to get into full-time work eventually and said he has been applying for jobs but to no avail.

He said: “In my long-term plan nothing would give me more pleasure than seeing my family happy.

“There is nothing more important to me than their wellbeing.

“For myself, I would like nothing better than to have a job and contribute to society in that way.”

'Positive feedback makes me happy'

THE volunteers at Whitehawk Foodbank range in age and background.

Their decisions to offer their time and labour also differ.

For 20-year-old Saffron Noble it is simple: helping people less privileged than herself makes her feel good.

She works in the store room for a number of hours each Wednesday, blending her volunteer work into her busy schedule of a full-time pharmacy job and studying for a degree with the Open University.

Saffron, from Brighton, pictured here with fellow volunteer Lance Collins, has been working at the food bank for about a year.

She said: “Living in Brighton, I saw the amount of homeless people and needy living here.

“I wanted to help these kind of people. We always get positive feedback and I always feel very happy with that.”

Her day consists of organising donated items into correct places, from tinned foods to shampoo, conditioner and sanitary towels.

The store rooms are in the community centre, a separate building behind St Cuthmans Church, where the food bank is based.

Saffron and the team have to ensure all items are in date order before they are put in hampers.

“I love it,” Saffron, one of about 20 volunteers, said.

“Every time I come here I always have fun and we have a laugh.

“We make sure we go over to the church to see the clients.”


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