Tagged: hard times

Second foodbank for Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle is set to open its second foodbank after growing concerns that people in the area are falling on hard times.

Volunteers at the Influence Church, in Galgate, are preparing to open the service, which will be part of their StoreHouse project.

It is expected to be up and running next month and has already had donations following the Harvest Festival.

StoreHouse coordinator, Paige Rutherford, said the foodbank would be an addition to the ‘discreet’ one ran through St Mary’s Methodist Church and would be working in partnership with it.

It also follows the success of the church’s existing Richmond project which, in the two years it has been open, has helped about 400 different families and provided more than 32,000 meals.

We do know there’s a need in the area because we have had people in Barnard Castle actually come to our Richmond base looking for some help,” said Mrs Rutherford.

There are quite a few people that come to us who aren’t homeless or broke, they are just in a tough situation.”

Mrs Rutherford explained how people would be able to self refer themselves to the foodbank if they have not already been put forward by an organisation, and clients can expect to receive parcels, containing mostly tinned and non-perishable items, for up to eight weeks.

Fresh produce including fruit, vegetables and bread could also be included if donated, with each parcel aiming to provide enough food for a family to have at least two meals a day for a week.

Clients would have to provide proof that they are in need by their second visit and after eight weeks would be assessed again, as that is usually the point that they would be asked to take a six-month break from the project.

Mrs Rutherford is currently being helped by the foodbank’s first volunteer and Influence Church intern, Lesley Allison,  who is expected to be joined by at least three others once the service opens.

Mrs Allison, of Staindrop, said:

“I’m looking forward to getting started. I’m a bit apprehensive and nervous but excited because it will be a great help for people.

 “I don’t think people will realise just how much we need a place like this.”

To find out more visit www.influencechurch.co.uk/storehouse, email office@influencechurch.co.uk or call 01748-823161.

You can also find the church on Facebook and twitter @influencechurch

Source –  Northern Echo,  25 Oct 2014

There Aint Half Been Some Nasty Bastards

There aint half been some nasty bastards (to mis-quote Ian Dury) and god knows I’ve met some of them. But here’s a guy could really make you consider revoking your membership of the human race, just so that no-one would think you might be part of the same species.

Spotted. Benefit Fraudsters

is a Facebook page, apparently run by an ex-DWP employee who got sacked (the irony !) but continues with his crusade to rid society of…  well, most of society really.

A example –

I once met Mr Iain Duncan Smith. He was a really nice person and was happy to stop and chat, shake my hand and pose for photos. Really nice person in the flesh and I can’t understand why he attracts so much hate. All he is trying to do is fix the broken welfare system that Labour left behind.

You might almost think that was a piss-take, until you see posts like –

To those who have been sanctioned because they are too lazy to seek work. I know you’re facing a bleak Christmas and in hard times like this I can only think of one thing to say to you all…. Ha Ha !

Definitely someone with big, big problems.

As you might imagine, he’s being kept busy deleting all the adverse comments  his site is attracting. Should you wish to add to his workload you can find it here –

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spotted-Benefit-Fraudsters/561542143915046

Be warned, though – you may feel the desperate need for taking a bath after viewing it.

Benefit Sanctions – It Gets Worse

Figures from November last year to June show payments were suspended as a result of benefit sanctions 33,460 times across the North East –  17,470 of those were  in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland and the remainder in County Durham and the Tees Valley.

On Wearside, a total of 3,720 sanctions were put in place, with 2,150 in Sunderland Job Centre,  780 in Southwick Job Centre, 400 in Houghton and 390 in Washington.

In South Tyneside benefits were withdrawn on 1,430 occasions for claimants registered at South Shields Jobcentre and 600 times for clients at Jarrow Jobcentre.

Across Durham and East Durham, a total of 2,820 sanctions were put in place, with 1,060 of those in Peterlee, 810 in Durham, 540 in Chester-le-Street and 410 in Seaham.

Couldn’t find the figures for Newcastle, Gateshead or north Tyneside – if you know, add them to the comments section.

It should be remembered that although the final decision on whether to sanction is made by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP)  many of the cases are actually raised by the private for-profit Work Programme providers, as happened in my case – thank you Ingeus, Sunderland.

Comments from local politicians seem to be a bit thin on the ground (hello Labour MPs ! Anyone awake there ?) although South Tyneside councillor Jim Foreman, a critic of  welfare  “reforms” was quoted as saying :  “If you walk into South Shields Jobcentre, there is generally 700 to 900 vacancies available.
“How many people do we have on the dole in the borough, 6,000 to 7,000? Those are telling statistics.

“The Government makes great play about the work-shy, but people need more support to fill out the complex forms they need to.

“There are many people who are not computer literate, who are not numerically OK. These people are in a lose-lose situation.

“They are at risk of having their benefits cut and falling into the hands of loan sharks. It’s a never-ending cycle.”

You dont have to be too numerate to be able to work out that 6000 – 7000 unemployed into 700 – 900 jobs just wont go. You just cant fit a quart into a pint pot.

Unfortunately this basic fact escapes those responsible for these draconian tactics.   Minister for Employment Esther McVey for example, who stated:  “This Government has always been clear that, in return for claiming unemployment benefits, jobseekers have a responsibility to do everything they can to get back into work.

“We are ending the something-for-nothing culture.”

Uh, pardon me ? I’ve been involved in the often less than wonderful world of work since  before Ms. McVey was even born. I dont know how much I’ve paid out in National Insurance contributions over the years, but I did so on the understanding that by doing so I’d be able to claim help in hard times such as these, and also that others in need would be helped, regardless of whether they’d paid as much NI as me.

So something for nothing ? I don’t think so. And it certainly pales in comparison with MP’s expenses claims. Now that really is the something-for-nothing culture.

McVey, we are told,  has worked in the family business, which specialises in demolition and site clearance.

How appropriate. Now she’s focusing those skills on the poorest in society.