Today the Trussell Trust announced record figures for people attending the Foodbanks....please click on the link below...
Please watch our short BBC video below
Chris Offord Joins the Foodbank Team as Deputy Manager
Chris has a vast experience of working with people who need either emergency help or support to undertake activities so that they can experience life to the full. He has previously been involved with Swindon's soup run, been the Manager at Legge House Wroughton and at Edale Outreach Centre. Chris is also a Pastor and is part of a new church that meets in North Swindon. Chris joins Cher on the Foodbank team alongside their 50+ volunteers and Norma in the office.
Swindon Restore | The Foodbank Network
People don't go hungry in Swindon - do they?
You would be forgiven for thinking that Swindon is an affluent town with little or no poverty problems. But, just scratch the surface and you’ll realise that the need for a crisis support organisation in Swindon is great: There are an estimated 30,500 income deprived people living in the town.
Although Swindon is relatively prosperous there are parts of Swindon that are relatively poor, with 6% of residents living in the 10% most deprived areas in the country. A further 15.2% of people in Swindon live in areas amongst the 20% most deprived nationally.
Or to put it another way - 1 in 6 adults in Swindon live close to the edge of their finances. When crisis hits - such as sudden illness, relationship breakdown, redundancy, or a large unexpected expense looms - such people have no financial safety net. The result can be a struggle to put food on the table.
Benefit changes introduced under the welfare reforms has had an impact on some Swindon residents’ finances. Swindon Borough Council estimates that the impact of welfare reforms to date (with the impact of more to follow) has cost Swindon as much as £4 million per year. The Government aims for its welfare reforms to reduce "welfare dependency" and to ensure that "work will always pay". This is predicated on there being sufficient jobs and that the people affected by the reforms will be able to access these jobs. In January 2016 the UK unemployment rate was 5.1%, and in Swindon it is lower. It is difficult to say whether there is or is not a surplus of work in Swindon and in any case some long-term unemployed people need more support to become work ready. This may mean that some people will feel alienated when they cannot find a way to secure sufficient income to live on through work whilst benefit entitlements are being cut. Some examples of the impact of welfare reforms in Swindon:
- The implementation of the "under-occupancy changes for social sector claimants" resulting in a reduction in Housing Benefits.
- Local Council Tax Support reduced entitlement for working age claimants
- The Benefits Cap of £26,000 per annum (and due to reduce to £20,000)
- Changes to Tax Credits within the context of universal credit will affect a significant proportion of the tax credit claimants in Swindon over the next two years
- A number of jobseekers in Swindon are sanctioned each month
(Source: SBC Financial Inclusion Policy June 2016)
Swindon Foodbank was launched in 2005 to offer practical help to those facing sudden crisis. Working together with the borough's support agencies and local volunteers; supported by the generosity of local people we make a significant difference to the lives of thousands. Our volunteers are there to listen and help where they can. Our volunteers routinely talk to our clients about financial inclusion issues and know how to refer them to appropriate agencies for advice. We are hoping to extend this provision and advice service during this year with local partners such as Citizens Advice, Christians Against Poverty and The Wiltshire Law Centre.
How Swindon Foodbank works:
- We are entirely funded and stocked with food by local people: Food is donated either at supermarket collections, or can be dropped off at our food drop off locations.
- Volunteers sort and pack the food into food boxes. Each food box contains enough food for 3-4 days.
- Swindon Foodbank partners with front-line care professionals, such as social services, health visitors, Citizens Advice, CGL, Threshold Housing Link, Probation, Health Visitors. Social Workers, GP's and the DWP benefit department staff, who identify people in crisis and give them a Foodbank voucher.
- Clients take their voucher to the Foodbank distribution centre to receive their box of nutritionally balanced food.
- Swindon Foodbank also helps by putting people in touch with other agencies who can help resolve the underlying causes of the crisis.