Thousands of Hartlepool families have been given vital help following heartfelt pleas to a foodbank.
Hartlepool Foodbank gave 4,222 people three days of emergency food in 2014-15, compared to 4783 in 2013-14.
The figures included 1,147 children getting help from the foodbank.
Bosses at the foodbank, which is one of 400 nationally run by the Trussell Trust, have praised communities for helping the cause, which saw people in Hartlepool donate 38 tonnes of food.
The top three reasons for foodbank referrals were benefit delay 33 per cent, low income 25 per cent and benefit changes 11 per cent.
A spokesman for the Trussell Trust said:
“Thanks to the generous donations from members of the public Hartlepool Foodbank is often able to provide some basic toiletries in addition to the emergency food, to families who are at struggling point, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area.
“Many Trussell Trust foodbanks, including Hartlepool Foodbank, are partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support from their premises, helping people to break out of crisis.”
Nationally last year 1,084,604 people – including 396,997 children – received three days’ food from the Trussell Trust’s network of foodbanks in 2014/15, compared with 913,138 in the 2013/14 financial year, an increase of 19 per cent.
Trussell Trust UK foodbank director Adrian Curtis said:
“Despite welcome signs of economic recovery, hunger continues to affect significant numbers of men, women and children in the UK today. It’s difficult to be sure of the full extent of the problem as Trussell Trust figures don’t include people who are helped by other food charities or those who feel too ashamed to seek help.
Adrian Curtis added: “Trussell Trust foodbanks are increasingly hosting additional services like debt counselling and welfare advice at our foodbanks, which is helping more people out of crisis. The Trussell Trust’s latest figures highlight how vital it is that we all work to prevent and relieve hunger in the UK. It’s crucial that we listen to the experiences of people using foodbanks to truly understand the nature of the problems they face; what people who have gone hungry have to say holds the key to finding the solution.”
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 23 Apr 2015
Hartlepool Foodbank has helped an average of more than 100 children a month after hard-up families made desperate pleas for help.
The life-saving Church Street charity helped 4,507 people throughout 2014, of which 1,253 were children aged under 17.
That is equal to 12 people needing to use the Foodbank every day throughout the year, or 375 a month, including 104 children a month.
Starving town families used a total of 2,452 Foodbank vouchers distributed by the charity last year, which was an increase of 349 on 2013.
Today, MP for Hartlepool Iain Wright described the figures as “heartbreaking”.
“The notion that kids in a rich economy, where you have billionaires avoiding paying tax, yet there are people in our town who can’t afford to feed their children.
“No-one can view that as acceptable – it should make people both upset and very angry.
“I see it when people come to seek help from me, they are absolutely desperate and they haven’t got enough money to heat their homes or put food on the able.
“A lot of the time these people are in work as well, but their incomes are so low given the rising cost of living. It’s just not enough to allow people to live.
“There are also benefit sanctions for the most spurious of reasons which seems to confirm that Central Government is dictating to job centres that they must impose them.”
“I’m genuinely shocked that this is happening in this day and age. People having to go into charities for hand-outs for something as basic as food is an absolute disgrace.
“We are just very fortunate that the people of Hartlepool are so generous and continue to to donate food to the Foodbank.”
In the annual report, chair of trustees Clive Hall said:
“Hartlepool Foodbank is a robust and effective project which has grown and developed extremely well since opening two years ago.
“Hartlepool Foodbank should feel extremely proud of all that has been achieved since opening and for the very professional service that has been developed.”
The figures were revealed in Hartlepool Foodbank’s Annual report for 2014.
It also showed that the main reasons people became so hungry that they were forced to use the service to feed themselves and their familes, was down to benefit delays and changes, and low income.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 10 Mar 2015
Hartlepool Foodbank is set to expand its services to help people deal with debt after winning a funding boost.
The Churches Together project, which has given out a whopping 60 tonnes of food to over 8,000 individuals since launching two years ago, secured the cash prize from Lloyds Bank’s Community Fund.
The foodbank, based in Church Street, came second in a regional online public vote to secure the funding.
The £2,000 will be used to launch a new Community Money Advice (CMA) debt advice service this year.
Al Wales, co-ordinator of Hartlepool Foodbank, said:
“We are so grateful to everyone who voted for us.
“Finishing second was a big achievement and shows the level of support there is for the work of the foodbank in the town.”
Foodbank bosses decided to focus on debt-related issues as it is one of the biggest issues faced by clients who are referred to them for emergency food parcels.
The new service will be headed up by foodbank trustee Lisa Lavender.
“We are delighted with this award because it means we will be able to offer completely free, face to face, quality money advice services which will contribute to the good already being done around the issue of debt in the town by agencies such as West View Resource Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau and Credit Union.”
According to the Trussell Trust charity, which runs the Hartlepool and other foodbanks, more than one in 10 UK families have taken out a pay day loan to make ends meet in the last year.
And almost a quarter have fallen into debt to be able to provide for the family.
Managers say they are currently well stocked with beans and pasta but are very low on tinned fruit, sugar and fruit juice and custard and tin tomatoes or pasta sauce.
You can leave them in permanent collection points at Tesco Extra, in Burn Road, or Morrisons, in Clarence Road.
Supporters can also take them to the foodbank on Tuesday or Friday mornings.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 19 Jan 2015
Foodbank organizers in Hartlepool have praised allotment holders who were asked to pledge some veg after an amazing response.
Growers across the town donated an impressive 55 large boxes of produce bursting with fresh vegetables.
They answered an appeal to donate surplus produce to Hartlepool Foodbank by supporting Hartlepool Borough Council’s Big Christmas Dinner Challenge.
It was also run in partnership with the Allotments’ Tenants Focus Group and the town’s Waverley Terrace Community Allotment.
Kate Ainger, Hartlepool Borough Council environmental projects officer, said:
“We invited allotment holders to ‘pledge some veg’ and the response was amazing.
“We would like to thank everyone who contributed for their invaluable support.
“It is great to know that the Big Christmas Dinner Challenge is really going to make a difference to a significant number of families.”
Empty boxes were donated by Fruit Fayre in Oxford Road and were filled with vegetables including potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, beetroot, swede, sprouts, rosemary, cabbage and marrows before being delivered to the foodbank for distribution.
Each box also included an information pack with suggested recipes and advice from the Love Food Hate Waste campaign on how to make the most of the produce.
Al Wales, Hartlepool Foodbank co-ordinator, said:
“There was a fantastic response from allotment holders and we would like to pass on our heartfelt thanks. It was brilliant to be able to give out fresh vegetables.
“We gave some of the boxes to people who sought help directly from us and others were distributed amongst our partner charities.”
Allotment sites which contributed to the appeal were Nicholson Field, Thornhill, Throston, Chester Road, Briarfields, Burn Valley, Woodcroft, Summerhill, Haswell, Rossmere and Waverley Terrace.
Staff and volunteers at the Waverley Terrace Community Allotment, which offers opportunities to children and adults with physical and learning disabilities, and people with mental health problems, also helped to collect, sort and pack the donations.
Since January, Hartlepool Food Bank, part of the Trussell Trust foodbank network, has fed 4,357 people since it was started. This month alone it has supported 290 people, 89 of whom were children.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 22 Dec 2014
Hartlepool Foodbank is giving a vital food handout to desperate families an average of every three minutes it is open.
The number of starving people being forced to turn to the foodbank to be able to eat has increased by almost a quarter within a year.
Between January and June this year, 2,310 people walked into Hartlepool Foodbank, in Church Street, and received a three-day food parcel.
The foodbank is open two days a week for a total of four hours and the figure equates to a handout every three minutes.
That is equal to 385 people using the service every month in the period, or 89 people every week.
In the same six-month period last year there were 24 per cent less people needing its help with around 1,750 residents needing a package of food.
The shocking figures prompted Hartlepool Foodbank to launch a Neighbourhood Food Collection at Tesco, in Belle Vue Way, Hartlepool, as part of a national initiative with other stores up and down the country.
And generous customers donated an incredible 7,914 meals for people in need this winter.
The collection was held to make sure that the charities have enough food to help people during the winter, which is the hardest time of year for people in poverty.
Foodbank staff say that Christmas is looking especially tough for people on low incomes, with many already really struggling to make ends meet, and many parents being forced to choose between eating and heating.
Al Wales foodbank manager, said:
“Winter is the hardest time of year for people living in poverty, and this Christmas is looking especially tough as many people on low incomes are already really struggling.
“Numbers of people turning to Hartlepool Foodbank in the first six months of this year January to June increased by 24 per cent compared to the same period last year, and 2,310 people in Hartlepool have been given three days’ emergency food in the first 6 months of this year.”
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said:
“The Government’s welfare reform changes are having a major impact on many local families and we are fully aware of the hardship this is causing.
“The foodbank is playing a vital role in supporting large numbers of people across Hartlepool and since it was opened in 2012 the council has made a number of financial donations to support its work.
“As well as donating food at the Hartlepool Foodbank site on Church Street, residents can also bring items to the Civic Centre reception, during normal office hours, and we will make sure the items are taken to the foodbank on their behalf.”
Foodbank’s Al added:
“Once again the generosity of local people is overwhelming – from children giving their pocket money, to bags and even whole trolley loads for food, being donated.
“Every item counts and helps to make a difference.
“The timing of the collection couldn’t have been better, not only are we stocked for the cold weeks ahead but we are also busy preparing emergency food boxes for our partner agencies to hold over the Christmas period when Foodbank is closed, from December 24 to January 6.
“During the collection, customers were asked to donate non-perishable food items such as long-life milk, cereals, tinned vegetables, tinned meat and Christmas treats.
“Thirty-two volunteers from the Trussell Trust Hartlepool Foodbank joined with Tesco staff in store to collect donations from kind-hearted customers.
“Tesco then topped up all donations by 30 per cent.”
The Tesco collection was part of the fifth UK-wide scheme, in partnership with foodbank charity The Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare, with an aim of reaching a target of 20 million meals for people in need by the end of this year.
• The foodbank, at 28 Church Street, is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11.30am until 1.30pm.
For more information contact the foodbank on firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone (01429) 598404.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 08 Dec 2014
COUNCIL chiefs are delighted with the support for a campaign to make sure crisis-hit families tuck into a traditional Christmas dinner.
As part of the Big Christmas Dinner Challenge, allotment holders across the town have agreed to “pledge some veg” for distribution via Hartlepool Foodbank, which is part of the Trussell Trust network.
Staff from Hartlepool Borough Council will be delivering boxes for donated produce to allotment sites across the town on Friday, December 12.
The filled boxes will then be collected on Thursday, December 18, by members of the council’s Allotments Team and Waverley Terrace Community Allotment before being handed over to the foodbank the following day for immediate distribution.
The boxes will also contain an information pack with suggested recipes and advice from the Love Food Hate Waste campaign on how to make the most of the festive contents.
Kate Ainger, the council’s environmental projects officer, said:
“Since launching the Big Christmas Dinner Challenge recently we have been delighted with the level of support shown by allotment holders across the town.
“We know that many local families are desperately struggling to make ends meet and more and more are being forced to turn to Hartlepool Foodbank for help.
“There have been many pledges of veg and, hopefully, we will be able to make it a happier Christmas for many people.”
The council is running the scheme in partnership with the Allotments’ Tenants Focus Group, the Foodbank and the town’s Waverley Terrace Community Allotment which offers opportunities to children and adults with physical and learning disabilities, and people with mental health problems.
The donation boxes are being provided by town firm Fruit Fair, of Oxford Road.
Ms Ainger added:
“The staff and volunteers at Waverley Terrace Community Allotment will be assisting with the processing and packing of the boxes and they have also offered us the use of a van to help with collections.
“We’d also like to thank the town’s allotment associations and Fruit Fair for their support.”
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 21 Nov 2014
Vital voluntary lifeline services used by hundreds of people in Hartlepool face an uncertain future.
There are fears councillors could pull the plug on funding for groups – which last year totalled about £120,000.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee is to meet on November 24 to decide whether cash given to Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) groups should be axed in a bid to balance the books.
It comes after the Government has shrunk the local authority’s budget by 40 per cent and it must find savings of £7.4m for 2015/16.
Grants of between £4,000 and £10,000 from the Community Pool budget were handed out to nine town groups in the 2014/15.
But some of them are now fearing for their future and have admitted that they may have to reduce the services they offer, or even face closure as a result of the cost-cutting measures.
They say this will have a drastic impact on the town’s families and other vulnerable people who depend on them.
Keith Bayley, manager at Hartlepool Voluntary Development Association (HVDA) which supports VCS groups throughout the town, said:
“At the Finance and Policy Committee meeting the council will consider stopping all grant funding for VCS groups.
“This comes after a decision last year to reduce the budget by 50 per cent.
“Groups which provide services to some of the most disadvantaged people in Hartlepool are likely to suffer most with people with disabilities, people who cannot afford to feed themselves, the lonely and isolated and people with mental health problems likely to be some of the main losers.
“Having some level of grant funding for VCS groups and the services they provide allows the council to support some of the most vulnerable people in Hartlepool at a very low cost compared to other areas where the council pays for such services delivered via contracts.
“Grants are usually a partial contribution to service delivery costs where services are being delivered by a VCS group who, in turn obtain or raise the rest of the money from other sources.
“This is an important reason why some services provided by VCS groups and funded by grants provide such good value for money.
“It also allows the council to stand alongside and support local people who are trying to find solutions to some of the most pressing problems faced by local people.”
The council’s chief executive Dave Stubbs laid the blame at the door of the Government.
“Over the last four years we have seen our level of Government funding cut by almost 40 per cent and for 2015/16 we have to find savings of £7.4m to balance the books.”
“As we have stated on a number of occasions previously, this will inevitably result in some very tough decisions.
“A report to the Finance and Policy Committee on November 24 will set out a range of savings proposals, including withdrawing funding for some voluntary and community sector groups as part of a package of major cuts that we have had to identify due to the significant reductions in our grant from government.
“It is important however that any decision on the budget is not viewed in isolation because overall the council continues to direct resources to protect the most vulnerable people in the town.
“Hartlepool and other councils in the North-East have had cuts of double the national average and have more deprived communities that need significant support.
“We continue to urge the Government to address this unfairness at every opportunity.”
The Hartlepool services which received money in the 2014/15 pot of cash were Hartlepool PATCH which received £10,000, and The People’s Centre, in Raby Road, which also received £10,000.
Others were Making a Difference which got £10,000, Hart Gables which was rewarded £9,950.04, the Salaam Community Centre which got £9,888, Hartlepool Mind with £8,719, West View Project which received £6,195, Hartlepool Foodbank which was granted £5,518.46 and Epilepsy Outlook which got £4,729.50.
At a subsequent council meeting in May, councillors also approved an additional one-off contribution of £21,143 to the Community Pool programme, out of which Hartlepool Foodbank received a further £2,111, Age UK Teesside received £9,032, and Hartlepool Access Group received £10,000 for its Shopmobility scheme.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 17 Nov 2014
Staff at a Hartlepool firm showed community spirit is alive and well after buying stacks of food for a town charity.
Employees at engineering specialists Doosan Babcock, based at Hartlepool Power Station, raised more than £500 which they spent on boosting stocks at Hartlepool Foodbank.
The workers bought bagfuls of food and delivered it to the charity’s warehouse.
They then saw how their donation will help people in crisis when they visited the foodbank’s distribution centre in Church Street, Hartlepool.
Hartlepool Foodbank co-ordinator Al Wales said:
“We are extremely grateful for the support of Doosan Babcock Ltd and their generous food donation.
“It’s great to be partnering with local businesses and industry to support those in need in Hartlepool.
“Since opening nearly two years ago Hartlepool Foodbank has supported over 3,000 households.
“The continued support of the project by so many indicates that community spirit is alive and well in Hartlepool.”
John Turner of Dosan Babcock in Hartlepool said:
“It was head office’s suggestion to support the foodbank to help the needy.
“We raised a total of £505 for the foodbank.
“We then did a shop for a variety of non-perishable food which we donated. We were pleased to help them.”
The foodbank, run with the Trussell Trust charity, can get through up to half a tonne of food a week.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 30 Oct 2014
Foodbank bosses fear there will be a huge rise in hand-outs during the school holidays as desperate families struggle to feed their children who would have received free school meals.
Families picked up almost a TONNE of goods from Hartlepool Foodbank in the first week of the school holidays.
The foodbank, in Church Street, usually hands out around half that amount each week to families on the breadline struggling to make ends meet.
But on the day many town schools broke up for their six-week break, volunteers at the Foodbank dished out more than 30 parcels to feed families.
Hartlepool Foodbank manager Al Wales said: “We were very busy this time last year, but as it was our first summer in operation it is difficult to say that is purely down to the school holidays as there are no previous figures to compare it to.
“But there is no doubt that the school holidays are a key factor in the increase in parcels we give out.
“Children who normally have their lunch at school are now at home, and they need to be fed.
“So the families are having to get more food than they normally would.
“We were extremely busy last Friday, and the collection on the Tuesday was also quite large.
“On a busy week, we can hand out about half a tonne of food across the week. “Last Friday, we did that in one day.”
The Foodbank opens twice a week, for two hour periods on Tuesdays and Fridays.
People deemed to be in need of handouts are referred to the Foodbank by health professionals, social workers or other agency staff.
Al added: “We carried out a collection in Morrisons recently because we knew we would be busy during the summer.
“The schools help us with regular donations, but when they are on holiday they obviously drop off.
“We’re well stocked, and we’re coping, but obviously more donations are always welcomed.”
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 26 July 2014
Thoughtful school students got an insight into food poverty by fasting and raised half a tonne of vital supplies for Hartlepool Foodbank.
A group of teenagers from English Martyrs School in Hartlepool raised just over £200 from family and friends by going without food for a day.
And they quickly spent the cash on stacks of food which they delivered to Hartlepool Foodbank in Church Street.
Project co-ordinator Al Wales said: “We were delighted and blown away by the donation.
“It is great to see students engaging with food poverty issues and doing something about it.”
The Year 10 students are all part of newly-formed St Vincent de Paul youth group in English Martyrs.
Laura Howe, co-ordinator of the group, said: “St Vincent de Paul Society is a charitable organisation which rather than donating money goes out and does things to directly help communities and works with the underprivileged.”
It has been a busy time for the foodbank after Hartlepool’s Tesco Extra store collected 2.6 tonnes of food in three days.
And last Friday, volunteers held a successful collection at Morrisons, in Clarence Road.
Al added: “We would like to say a huge thank you to the customers, the response from them was really positive.
“We haven’t had chance to weigh it up yet but it looks to have been very successful.
“Last August was our busiest month of the year so we wanted to ensure our warehouse was fully stocked and ready in of an increase in demand.”
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 16 July 2014