Tagged: The Bay Foodbank

Whitley Bay foodbank charity wins award for helping struggling families

A Tyneside charity has been given a special award for helping to provide food to thousands of families struggling with cash.

The Bay Foodbank has been presented with the Whitley Bay Town Cup by North Tyneside Council.

The authority awards the cup to an organisation or individual of the town who has brought about an outstanding event in the last year, or has been of outstanding service to the community.

The foodbank was chosen this year in recognition of its work in providing emergency food parcels to residents having financial problems either through low income, redundancy, medical bills, a bereavement or benefit delays.

Coun Tommy Mulvenna, chairman of council, said:

“This cup is a fantastic way to show our appreciation and recognising the excellent work that these organisations do.

“The Bay Foodbank provides a very important service to the residents of not only Whitley Bay, but the whole of North Tyneside and they thoroughly deserve this honour.”

The charity has set up several drop-off points across the borough, in locations including supermarkets and churches, where members of the public leave donations of non-perishable food items such as long life milk, tea bags, coffee, tinned fish, meat and vegetables, and baby food.

These are then packaged into parcels and delivered to needy families.

People can be referred to the service by churches, doctors, social services or other agencies.

Rev Alan Dickinson, the group’s chairman, said:

“The Bay Foodbank is honoured to receive the Whitley Bay Town Cup.

“We’d like to thank all of our dedicated volunteers who devote their time, but also those who donate to us because without their support we wouldn’t be able to continue the work we do.

“We’re currently supplying around 1,200 meals per week to those most at need in North Tyneside – resulting in a total of almost 12,000 people we have helped support since 2012.

“Last year was our busiest year yet and we can only hope that our fantastic supporters will stick with us for the coming year.

“We have a good working relationship with North Tyneside Council and look forward to continuing this in 2015.”

The Town Cup was introduced by the former Whitley Bay Council in 1954 and it was donated to North Tyneside Council on its formation in 1974.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 23 Jan 2015

Not Wishing You A Dickensian Christmas

Its a strange thing but a “Dickensian” christmas is often held up as the personification of all things the season should strive to be… the soft, warm glow of candlelight, decorated xmas trees, hot punch, roasting chestnuts, happy families around the fire, merry carol singers gathered under the gaslight in the street, not the least phased by the several inches of snow covering everything – proper snow, snow that miraculously doesn’t turn to slush under the passage of so many feet and the wheels of carriages, or become polluted by the regular discharges from the horses that provided the motive power.

Sometimes people will organize “Dickensian Christmas” events and dress up in Victorian costume, probably read from his works… and generally miss his point.

Because the strata of society they dress up as is inevitably the upper or upper-middle classes of Victorian society. Then as now, the low paid and unemployed weren’t invited to the party – who do you think lit the candles and fires, cooked the feasts and generally did all the work ?

British society must not revert to “times of Charles Dickens” and leave the nation’s poorest families in desperate need of food and clothes, a  charity has warned.

Action for Children said the nation “can’t go back” to the scenes of desperation described by the Dickens.  The comments come as the charity said it has been regularly sending families to food and clothes banks for the first time since the 1940s.

Spokesman Jacob Tas said a “staggering” number of its centres were showing families where they could obtain emergency supplies, with some families are being forced to choose between eating, paying for heating or the rent.

Almost two-thirds (62%) of the charity’s 220 children’s centres said they aere “regularly” signposting families in need to food banks, according to its annual report, The Red Book.

And 21% of managers of the charity’s intensive family support services are signposting those in need to clothes banks, said the report released earlier this year.

Mr Tas said:  ” It’s painful and unfortunate that we have now entered in a time when we go back in comparison to the 1940s. It’s really horrible for those families who are basically already at the bottom of the food chain that they have to go to go to food banks to get their food.

“Some families now have to make a choice between either paying the rent, paying for heating or paying for food. We are talking about children that are cold at home and are hungry and that is in 2013, which is really painful for everybody involved.

“In this very wealthy country, we are in the top 10 of the richest in the world, yet here we have a two-tier society where people are struggling to feed and clothe themselves.

“We can’t go back to the times of Charles Dickens where at Christmastime we are handing out food and clothes. We should be more advanced in our opinion of society where we take care of those who need help the most.”

He said that there are a number of contributing factors to the rise in people seeking help for basic necessities including the economy, unemployment, changes to the benefits system and cuts to services. “These families are facing the maximum squeeze from all sides,” he said.

In Tyne & Wear, the  Trussell Trust, which runs several foodbanks, has already this year helped 19, 388 people – last year it was 7,020. In Newcastle’s West End 7,410 people received help – last year it was just 26.

Gateshead saw a rise from 390 last year to 1,720

The Bay Foodbank (North Tyneside) last December delivered 97 boxes of food (designed to last a family 4-5 days). In November this year they delivered 305 boxes.

The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle is expecting to help around 650 people over Christmas.

Austerity – we’re all in it together. Alledgedly. This time next year, a whole lot more of us will probably be in it, and we can all have Dickensian christmas’s.