September is here, and as the kids go back to school and MPs return from their summer recess, there may be increased hardship for those who visit Rye Food Bank if the government goes ahead with plans to cut universal credit by £20 a week this October.
The £20 uplift to benefit claimants ends at the same time as furlough payments. Joint food bank manager Chris Emson says she and Bob Harper are hoping there will not be a major impact on demand but there is likely to be some.
When schools were told not to provide free school meals last February half term we noticed a significant rise in demand at the food bank. Many people in Rother live on a very tight budget and £20 each week makes a big difference. We will have to wait and see and be as prepared as we possibly can.
This week we are very pleased that we are able, at last, to welcome our clients back into the Baptist hall as restrictions have eased. We are no longer routinely delivering food parcels, but of course we deliver to those unable to travel to collect their food because of illness or lack of fares, etc.
A big thank you very much is offered to everyone who continues to donate to us, this is so important as we need to ensure adequate stocks of balanced nutrition at all times. Thank you especially to the Rye Community Garden and Rye Allotments who donate surplus fresh produce. This is always very welcome for our clients.
Since we have set up face-to-face advice sessions via a virtual link with a benefits advisor several people have been able to return to independence. We are working to extend this service to include issues related to housing and social services.
The graph shows that numbers have remained consistent for the past few weeks, and we are seeing around 65 people per week half of whom are children.
Experience has shown how important it is for people experiencing difficulty (and many who visit the food bank have extreme difficulty) to feel comfortable and be able to talk about their problems. In some instances we are able to suggest practical help but more usually our clients are simply able to recover confidence and self esteem by talking. We look forward to being able to offer a drink and a chat to our clients.
Thank you again to all our benefactors. Everything donated is greatly appreciated no matter how small. We are open every Wednesday at the Baptist hall, Cinque Ports Street, Rye from 1pm until 3pm. Please call us on 07526 349847, or firstname.lastname@example.org, if you think we can help please do not hesitate to contact us.
Image Credits: Mags Ivatts .