No single cause for rising demand at food banks

PUBLISHED: 14:43 26 April 2014

Major Steven Watson-Minister at the Salvation Army Church and manager Anthony Bernard are pictured in the Exmouth Community Larder. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 4336-18-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

Major Steven Watson-Minister at the Salvation Army Church and manager Anthony Bernard are pictured in the Exmouth Community Larder. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 4336-18-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

Archant

The manager of Exmouth’s food bank has urged people not to ‘politicise’ the increase in food parcels being given out by blaming it on changes to benefits.

Anthony Bernard, manager of Exmouth Community Larder, said that all governments were equally to blame and that 30 years of easy credit and 70 years of a welfare state also played a part.

He also said that foo banks should also be seen as something negative but also as a return to traditional community ‘values’.

The numbers of people helped by the Exmouth Community Larder increased by 700 per cent over the last year, when compared to the previous year.

And more food was donated than ever before and more food packages were given out.

This week food bank charity The Trussell Trust says it has handed out 913,000 food parcels in the last year, up from 347,000 the year before.

The trust, the largest food bank provider in the UK, said benefits payments had been a particular problem since welfare changes were introduced just over a year ago.

Some 83 per cent of food banks reported that benefits sanctions - when payments are temporarily stopped - had resulted in more people being referred for emergency food.

Mr Bernard said: “The people we serve are our purpose; those of us who do have food for our tables serving those who are in trouble for one reason or another.

“There are attempts to politicise the need for food banks around benefit cuts.

“Years ago mutual support was normal in a neighbourhood or village; 70 years of the ‘welfare state’, whether managed by Labour or Tory, has created a mood that expects the state to look after the people next door.

“Thirty years of encouragement to boost the economy by buying on the never-never, whether managed by Tory or Labour, has edged many people into unsustainable debt.

“The Community Larder and foodbanks mark the start of a return to the old values of supporting each other across society.

“And, of course, people in agencies working to help clients out of their dilemmas.

“A food emergency is often the final bump, but people patiently working with clients to rise above their underlying crisis is critical to providing the support they need.”


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