Bristol food bank appeals to shoppers as demand reaches record high

Bristol food bank appeals to shoppers as demand reaches record high

North Bristol Food Bank is asking Tesco shoppers to donate what they can to help those in need over the Christmas period.

Poverty charity The Trussell Trust said there has been a 13% increase in food bank usage from last year.

It added this is due to delays in the roll-out of Universal Credit and that it is “not right that people are being forced to use food banks after weeks of waiting”.

Matthew Dobson, a volunteer for the Food Bank says that ‘we are seeing a lot of people who are struggling to get that initial first payment. We are seeing people coming up to the food bank, distressed, worried and anxious’ as they ‘think that they will have to wait six weeks.’

Matthew says that people can apply for an advance if they are in real hardship but he says this is ‘rarely publicised for people in need’.

He thinks that more could be done to ensure that applicants are aware of this. ‘The council could do a lot more by working with Job Centres and the DWP to work out how it could be publicised better and how the waiting period can be reduced so that people aren’t so distressed.’

Karin Smyth, Labour MP for South Bristol is running a Money Entitlement event today to help those struggling with how to manage their Universal Credit payments.

Speaking exclusively to Bower News, Smyth said that ‘there is actually quite a lot of support out there. Bristol City Council is doing a lot of really good work to help people such as bringing specialists together. At this event I’ve got the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) here.’

‘We’ve got a number of really good organisations who are based in the community. At events such as these we publicise all aspects of the help together.’

She also pointed out the importance of events like today as ‘lots of people don’t have access to websites. The lack of face to face these days is really difficult for many people.’

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