Number of kids living on emergency food doubles

Jane Benyon at the Community Emergency Foodbank in Cowley

Jane Benyon at the Community Emergency Foodbank in Cowley

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

MORE than 1,800 children in north Oxfordshire had to live on three day’s worth of emergency food from food banks last year following a dramatic rise in demand.

New figures published by the Trussell Trust, Oxford-based charity Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty also showed more than 2,500 adults in the county who could not afford to feed themselves were referred to the service.

The previous year 893 children and 993 adults used the food banks in Bicester and Banbury.

The report – called Below the Breadline and released yesterday – claims that Government changes to the welfare system are partly to blame.

There are six other food banks in the county including Cowley-based Community Emergency Foodbank (CEF), which has warned the number of people using its services has risen by 70 per cent in a year.

Based at St Francis Church in Hollow Way, the food bank said it helped 3,300 residents between April 2013 and 2014, with about one third being children. The previous year it saw 1,900.

CEF spokeswoman Jane Benyon said: “The demand has always existed, but more people are now aware of us and more agencies are referring them to us.

“People have also been coming through because of sanctions imposed on them, or delays between switching benefits. The stories have not really changed over the years.”

Referrals to food banks are made by care professionals such as doctors, social workers and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. The CEF runs from noon to 2pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Ms Benyon added: “At the moment the amount of donations we get goes up and down, so we do have to buy food in. We also get about two thirds in through donations, but we always need more.”

Abingdon Emergency Foodbank coordinator Hilary Beale said: “We are getting a lot of families coming in who previously kept things together but are now struggling.”

Oxford City Council has set up “welfare support team” to help benefit claimants with changes.

Executive board member for services Susan Brown said: “This is a worrying increase and from my experience it does seem to be a direct result of government benefit changes.

“The city council will continue to provide assistance, but we also want to avoid the need for them in the first place.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “This report overlooks basic facts about the strength of our welfare system.

“As part of our long-term economic plan we’re fixing the welfare system to improve the lives of some of the poorest families.”

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Comments (5)

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9:59am Tue 10 Jun 14

Quentin Walker says...

I am not convinced of the need for food banks in today's society. Though it has its faults, our welfare system is the envy of the world (just look at how many economic migrants are queuing up in Calais).

Could it be the funds meant for subsistence are being directed elsewhere by the recipients?
I am not convinced of the need for food banks in today's society. Though it has its faults, our welfare system is the envy of the world (just look at how many economic migrants are queuing up in Calais). Could it be the funds meant for subsistence are being directed elsewhere by the recipients? Quentin Walker
  • Score: 7

12:12pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Oxokuba says...

Quentin Walker wrote:
I am not convinced of the need for food banks in today's society. Though it has its faults, our welfare system is the envy of the world (just look at how many economic migrants are queuing up in Calais).

Could it be the funds meant for subsistence are being directed elsewhere by the recipients?
The rise in foodbanks has very little to do with people exploiting a system -recipients have to provide ID and proof of benefit claims. You are misguided at best or provocative at worst with your cheap attack of our most vulnerable. Our welfare system was once the envy of the world but this vile govt is destroying its reputation and preparing to sell National Institutions to privateering ghouls, many of whom have donated to the tory party. Welfare is being replaced by a monetary system that will desert the poor and favour the wealthy. I presume you're not convinced of this but are in a position to enjoy the freedom of a pay per treatment system? Correct me if I'm wrong.
[quote][p][bold]Quentin Walker[/bold] wrote: I am not convinced of the need for food banks in today's society. Though it has its faults, our welfare system is the envy of the world (just look at how many economic migrants are queuing up in Calais). Could it be the funds meant for subsistence are being directed elsewhere by the recipients?[/p][/quote]The rise in foodbanks has very little to do with people exploiting a system -recipients have to provide ID and proof of benefit claims. You are misguided at best or provocative at worst with your cheap attack of our most vulnerable. Our welfare system was once the envy of the world but this vile govt is destroying its reputation and preparing to sell National Institutions to privateering ghouls, many of whom have donated to the tory party. Welfare is being replaced by a monetary system that will desert the poor and favour the wealthy. I presume you're not convinced of this but are in a position to enjoy the freedom of a pay per treatment system? Correct me if I'm wrong. Oxokuba
  • Score: 1

12:56pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Oxokuba wrote:
Quentin Walker wrote:
I am not convinced of the need for food banks in today's society. Though it has its faults, our welfare system is the envy of the world (just look at how many economic migrants are queuing up in Calais).

Could it be the funds meant for subsistence are being directed elsewhere by the recipients?
The rise in foodbanks has very little to do with people exploiting a system -recipients have to provide ID and proof of benefit claims. You are misguided at best or provocative at worst with your cheap attack of our most vulnerable. Our welfare system was once the envy of the world but this vile govt is destroying its reputation and preparing to sell National Institutions to privateering ghouls, many of whom have donated to the tory party. Welfare is being replaced by a monetary system that will desert the poor and favour the wealthy. I presume you're not convinced of this but are in a position to enjoy the freedom of a pay per treatment system? Correct me if I'm wrong.
If recipients are properly IDd by the food banks, this information should be collated and fed back to social services in order that an analysis can be undertaken of the circumstances of vulnerable people.

It is good that you appreciate that people should have the freedom to choose how they manage their personal health though.
[quote][p][bold]Oxokuba[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Quentin Walker[/bold] wrote: I am not convinced of the need for food banks in today's society. Though it has its faults, our welfare system is the envy of the world (just look at how many economic migrants are queuing up in Calais). Could it be the funds meant for subsistence are being directed elsewhere by the recipients?[/p][/quote]The rise in foodbanks has very little to do with people exploiting a system -recipients have to provide ID and proof of benefit claims. You are misguided at best or provocative at worst with your cheap attack of our most vulnerable. Our welfare system was once the envy of the world but this vile govt is destroying its reputation and preparing to sell National Institutions to privateering ghouls, many of whom have donated to the tory party. Welfare is being replaced by a monetary system that will desert the poor and favour the wealthy. I presume you're not convinced of this but are in a position to enjoy the freedom of a pay per treatment system? Correct me if I'm wrong.[/p][/quote]If recipients are properly IDd by the food banks, this information should be collated and fed back to social services in order that an analysis can be undertaken of the circumstances of vulnerable people. It is good that you appreciate that people should have the freedom to choose how they manage their personal health though. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 2

1:55pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Quentin Walker says...

Oxokuba wrote:
Quentin Walker wrote:
I am not convinced of the need for food banks in today's society. Though it has its faults, our welfare system is the envy of the world (just look at how many economic migrants are queuing up in Calais).

Could it be the funds meant for subsistence are being directed elsewhere by the recipients?
The rise in foodbanks has very little to do with people exploiting a system -recipients have to provide ID and proof of benefit claims. You are misguided at best or provocative at worst with your cheap attack of our most vulnerable. Our welfare system was once the envy of the world but this vile govt is destroying its reputation and preparing to sell National Institutions to privateering ghouls, many of whom have donated to the tory party. Welfare is being replaced by a monetary system that will desert the poor and favour the wealthy. I presume you're not convinced of this but are in a position to enjoy the freedom of a pay per treatment system? Correct me if I'm wrong.
Yes, you are wrong and I do correct you.

Please read my comment, carefully, as I fail to see any attack on anyone.
[quote][p][bold]Oxokuba[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Quentin Walker[/bold] wrote: I am not convinced of the need for food banks in today's society. Though it has its faults, our welfare system is the envy of the world (just look at how many economic migrants are queuing up in Calais). Could it be the funds meant for subsistence are being directed elsewhere by the recipients?[/p][/quote]The rise in foodbanks has very little to do with people exploiting a system -recipients have to provide ID and proof of benefit claims. You are misguided at best or provocative at worst with your cheap attack of our most vulnerable. Our welfare system was once the envy of the world but this vile govt is destroying its reputation and preparing to sell National Institutions to privateering ghouls, many of whom have donated to the tory party. Welfare is being replaced by a monetary system that will desert the poor and favour the wealthy. I presume you're not convinced of this but are in a position to enjoy the freedom of a pay per treatment system? Correct me if I'm wrong.[/p][/quote]Yes, you are wrong and I do correct you. Please read my comment, carefully, as I fail to see any attack on anyone. Quentin Walker
  • Score: 1

10:21pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

I completely agree with Quentin, he's attacked nobody, he merely suggested that money that could be spent on food, might possibly being used to finance other things;- E.g. Sky TV, iPhone contracts, credit agreements, designers clothes etc.

And before anybody criticises me for having a go at benefit claimants, I am one.........however, even though I receive a little over £100 a week, I'm solvent.....I don't drink, or smoke, but do run a car and pay all my bills by monthly direct debit.........

There will be some users of food banks that are 100% genuine, but I suspect there are quite a few that could reassess their financial priorities.

Oh, and I'm not a Tory either......if they never get elected again, it'll still be too soon....
I completely agree with Quentin, he's attacked nobody, he merely suggested that money that could be spent on food, might possibly being used to finance other things;- E.g. Sky TV, iPhone contracts, credit agreements, designers clothes etc. And before anybody criticises me for having a go at benefit claimants, I am one.........however, even though I receive a little over £100 a week, I'm solvent.....I don't drink, or smoke, but do run a car and pay all my bills by monthly direct debit......... There will be some users of food banks that are 100% genuine, but I suspect there are quite a few that could reassess their financial priorities. Oh, and I'm not a Tory either......if they never get elected again, it'll still be too soon.... Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 2

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