uggs cheap uk Six thousand families turn to food banks as austerity bites
THOUSANDS of families in Bournemouth are struggling to feed themselves as latest figures reveal a dramatic rise in the demand for emergency food parcels.
Paul Graham, manager of the Bournemouth Food Bank, said the number of people in need of the service has doubled to around 6,000 this year.
“We are giving away around a tonne of food every week at the moment and it’s not just individuals on benefits it’s working families too who are struggling to make ends meet.
“It’s a knock on effect of the rising cost of food, petrol, gas combined with job losses and changes in benefits.”
And the situation looks set to get worse after the chancellor warned this week of on going austerity measures which means many families will continue to feel the squeeze until 2018.
Marilyn Russell Carmichael from Bournemouth who turned up at the food bank in Charminster to collect food for herself and her friend who has three children said: “If this place wasn’t here I wouldn’t be eating I’ve got one bag of pasta at home and nothing else to go with it.
“Some of my friend’s children wouldn’t have any stocking fillers but there are some of packets of sweets in here and that always puts a smile on their little faces!”
Mark Tiller, 37, from Bournemouth who has received food parcels in the past and now works as a volunteer, said he wanted to give something back.
“I know what it’s like. I’ve got a partner and a three year old daughter to support and it is miserable when you haven’t got any food.
“I don’t like asking for food parcels but it just helped to tide us over when my benefits stopped for medical reasons. I’m now training to be a health and social care worker.”
Andy McCaughey, a volunteer who has worked at the food bank for three years, says the situation is worse than ever.
“It’s not just individuals on benefits.
“We get people from all walks of life who are down on their luck and struggling to make ends meet we have families who are working but can’t afford to pay the bills and eat.”
Vicki Lent, a trustee, added: “On the positive side we have been amazed by people’s generosity we’ve had more donations than ever and some supermarkets like Tesco have been collecting for us which has made a big difference.”
In Christchurch, the food bank based at St Joseph’s Church in Purewell which opened in September last year, has also seen an increase in demand.
Co ordinator Joe Egan said: “From September to the end of December last year we served around 850 adults and children but last month alone, we fed 166 adults and children.
“Mr Egan added: ” In the last last few months, over two thirds of the clients we see are families, and the other third are single people, ranging from late teenagers who have been kicked out of home to the elderly who are struggling financially.”
“The numbers have increased steadily and dramatically,” she said. “We’ve seen the numbers rise over the last year. We had a mum come in who was eating mash potato only so that she could keep the other food she had for her children.”
In 2011 the charity helped 2,763 people but Lorraine said the number is about to hit 3,000. People can visit the food banks for an emergency food parcel that should last for three days.
The vouchers are handed out by organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau, health workers, church ministers and housing associations.
Lorraine said rising food and utility bills and benefits being cut wereamong the common reasons for their visitors’ troubles.
“Those who use the village hall are very community spirited and always ready to respond,” she said.
Poole mayor Carol Evans attended the food presentation at the hall, and said it had been “a fabulous effort”. The opening times are Monday to Friday from 10.30am 1pm.
The Community Food Bank, St Andrew’s Centre, Millhams Road, Kinson, Bournemouth BH10 7LN, telephone 01202 570010. It is open Mondays 1pm 4pm; Wednesdays 11am 2pm and Fridays 2pm 6pm
Poole Food Bank, Longfleet United Reform Church, Longfleet Road, Poole, BH15 2HP, telephone: 01202 669566. Opening times are Tuesday to Thursday, 9.30pm to 12.30pm and Friday 9.30pm to 12pm.