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Daisy shows us what the Food Bank would like you to bring to the Party

Come to Daisy’s Food Bank Party this Friday!

This Friday, 22 November, a little girl called Daisy is hosting a party in All Saints Church Hall, Sidley. There will be a visit from a Princess, a disco, dancing, drinks and snack – but this isn’t a birthday party – it’s a fundraiser for Bexhill Foodbank. HOT’s Erica Smith went to meet the amazing little girl who has organised this special event.

00FoodBankPartyPosterSeven-year-old Daisy was watching TV with her mum when the news came on. There was a feature about foodbanks and she saw a line of people queuing up for help. The foodbank ran out of food and some people were turned away. This made a huge impression on Daisy, and she decided to find a way to help with a local foodbank.

Daisy attends a dance class at All Saints Church Hall, and she decided this would be a good venue to put on a party. Instead of asking people to pay an entry fee, she is asking them to bring along some food for the foodbank.

Daisy has already featured in Hastings Got Talent and had met Anonymuz dancers (the 2018 winners) there. They agreed to perform at her party too. Pristine Princess Parties will be providing a Princess Grotto and Wriggles and Giggles Children’s Entertainment are sponsoring the event. It is impossible to refuse to help Daisy with such a charitable cause!

I asked Daisy what items Bexhill Foodbank would like people to bring and she said anything dried or in a tin or jar – soup, tinned fruit and veg, beans and lentils and dried fruit, cereals, pasta and pasta sauces.

The party runs from 4 to 5pm, All Saints Church Hall, All Saints Lane, Sidley, TN39 5HA. Don’t forget to bring your items of dried food for the food bank.

Food bank use escalates

Trussell Trust’s Natalie Williams

Trussell Trust’s Natalie Williams

Heart-warming as Daisy’s party is, the chilling truth is that it is the current government’s cruel benefits system that is driving thousands more to rely on food banks. And the situation this winter is getting worse.

The Trussell Trust, which runs Hastings’ leading food bank, has just had its busiest October on record, with a sharp increase in those being referred for emergency food aid.

Natalie Williams, the community engagement manager at King’s Church, where the food bank is based, said in an interview this week: “Not only have we seen that 118% since Universal Credit came into Hastings in December 2016, we’re seeing it’s going up and up.”

The record October follows a record September and August.

“We’re worried about this winter,” she said. “If the trend of the past few months continues, we’ll see about a 15% increase this winter. The main reasons people come to us are things like benefit changes, benefit delays and the five-week wait for Universal Credit.

“But what’s also happening now, we’re seeing a massive increase of people being referred who are on low income. So what that tells us is that actually there are lots of people now who are living in perpetual crisis, rather than just having an acute crisis when something happens.”

Here’s just one example of extreme need. Natalie said: “I had a conversation recently with a nurse working in care homes and a mistake was made with her benefits, because she only works a few hours a week. Instead of adjusting her claim it got accidentally closed. That meant to reopen it would be another five-week wait. So she didn’t have money for five weeks.”

Natalie stressed that although agencies will still be able to refer people to the food bank, and the food would come in thanks to the community-spirit of people like Daisy, she would “rather we weren’t necessary.”

Hastings has one of the biggest food banks in the country – it gives out a tonne of food a week. And the story is the same throughout the UK. Food banks nationally have just had their busiest six months up to September, with 823,145 three-day emergency food parcels given out at the Trust’s food banks to people in crisis in the UK.

More than a third of these (301,653) went to children. This is a 23% increase on the same period in 2018 – the sharpest rate of increase the charity has seen for the past five years.

The main reasons for people needing emergency food are low benefit income (36%) and delays (18%) or changes (16%) to benefits being paid, says the Trust, which runs a network of food banks throughout the country.

The new figures come just a week after the Trust released State of Hunger, the most in-depth study ever published into hunger and the drivers of food bank use in the UK. The research revealed:

  • The average weekly income of households at food banks is only £50 after paying rent
  • One in five have no money coming in at all in the month before being referred for emergency food
  • 94% of people at food banks are destitute.

In next month’s General Election the Trust is calling for politicians of all parties to pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics.

It wants to see the ending of the five-week wait for Universal Credit; benefit payments to cover the cost of living; and investment in local emergency support for people in crisis.


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Posted 20:26 Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 In: Hastings People

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