Aid groups battling feeding the vulnerable

Aid organisations are battling to feed rising numbers of people hit by poverty and cuts to unemployment payments.

Monday, 20th March 2017, 3:15 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:42 am
LIFELINE: St Catherines Emergency Foodbank. David Holdsworth from Fare Share with catering manager Frank Robinson, Jonathan Williams, Sean Fitzsimmons & Anita Lee.

St Catherine’s Food Bank, on Doncaster Road, is giving out around 100 food parcels and serving around 75 free hot meals every week.

Working families are among those needing help. Centre manager Lisa Grant said: “They pay their bills first and then see how much money they have left.”

People can go to St Catherine’s without being referred by a GP or social services. Ms Grant said: “Some people who are homeless or sofa surfing don’t have the support workers to refer them to us. They have dropped through all the cracks.”

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Kevin Dobson, project manager of the Community Awareness Programme (CAP), on Market Street, said he was seeing around 75 people a day, including sick people whose benefits had been stopped.

He said: “It’s caused a trap where a GP has assessed them as unfit for work but they are assessed and told they are fit for work.”

People also face weeks with no cash when they move onto the government’s Universal Credit (UC), designed to take over from existing benefits.

Mr Dobson said: “The instant somebody goes on UC their back is against the wall.”

A free screening of the Ken Loach Film I, Daniel Blake, which tells how people on sickness benefits are struggling to get by, will be held on Tuesday at CAP at 7pm.