Foodbank Update. 4th May 2017
Between 1January and 30 April 2017 we have seen demand exceed the same period last year by 50%.
We have already provided parcels to over 800 local people through our 3 branches in Yate, Emersons Green and Thornbury, issuing over 8 tonnes of food and other items.
Unfortunately, the donations are down year on year and we have been topping up from stock and by buying items but we cannot do this for long.
We are mirroring the national situation with increases in benefit issues, debt, homelessness and low income. The benefit issues relate to the roll out of Universal Credit with the £20k cap per household and the mess that is disability benefits. Universal Credit has a built in (deliberate) 6 week wait after application. There are still a lot of ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) rejections of which more than 70% are still reversed on appeal. This process, however, takes 5 to 6 weeks. The homelessness is often the result of private landlords wanting to sell up or increase rent or refuse to take tenants who are on benefits. The low income issues still relate to zero hours contracts, minimum wage jobs and agency work. 25% of our clients are in work but are struggling when an unforeseen crisis happens. For example, many employers now only pay Statutory Sick Pay (£89.35 per week) during sickness from work. This often does not cover the household bills.
Trussell Trust released the national figures last week and there have been a lot of articles in the mainstream press. Differently to last year, when there was quite a lot of negative press, this year the reports are all factual and critical of the authorities and government – perhaps this has something to do with the upcoming election?
There has also been another report from the All Party Political Group – “Feeding Britain” chaired by Frank Field. This Group started investigating in October 2013 and has branched off into inquiries into certain areas of the issue. One of these inquiries released its findings into ‘Hungry Holidays’ in April and it does not paint a good picture. We will be offering a special service to local schools this year to allow them to issue a food parcel to parents who they identify as at risk of struggling to feed their children during the school Summer holidays.
In addition, the film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ has also highlighted some of the issues people face.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who misunderstand what foodbank does believing that we are feeding longer term and that our clients are the scroungers like the people they see on TV and read about in the papers or that we are feeding lots of refugees. We need to keep spreading the word about how we work and the sort of people we meet. This could happen to any of us
In addition, we need to encourage more donations, particularly of the items on our monthly shopping list rather than beans, soup and pasta. This list is available in Church notes and on our website.
On a brighter note, our first Eat Well – Spend Less free cookery course went very well. We had 5 participants who reported saving up to £20 a week on their food bills and were doing more cooking from scratch, much to their families’ delight. They said that they didn’t realise how quick and easy it could be. We are now advertising our next course – 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks – and aim to run this one with the mums at the Yate Children’s Centre.
Thank you all for your support.
Robert and Helen.
Foodbank Shopping List
All items need to be in date and non-
THESE ARE THE THINGS WE NEED RIGHT NOW:-
1 Litre UHT Milk
Tinned Green beans
Tinned Minced Beef
Tinned Stewed Steak
Nappies Size 2
Fruit Juice (not chilled) 1L