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Hayle food bank offers 'a hand up not just a hand out'

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

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HAYLE Foodbank has seen a steady increase in clients since it started up two years ago.

So far, urgent food parcels have been given to more than 2,000 people.

With clients receiving enough food to last a week it equates to serving 55,545 meals.

In 2013 the foodbank reported helping 14.6 per cent more people than the previous year.

Town mayor and foodbank volunteer Jayne Ninnes explained the increase: "People having fewer hours than they need to be able to earn a living, they don't show as unemployed as they have some work but it is not enough to support them.

"A reduction in government funding has meant Cornwall Council made a decision to make those on means-tested benefits pay 25 per cent council tax whereas they previously did not. The bedroom tax has also reduced housing benefit for some."

Mrs Ninnes said that a large increase in food and heating costs while wages have remained stagnant also contributed to the problem.

Hayle resident Maria Ellis briefly used the foodbank while she was having a hard time.

She said people turn to foodbanks when they have no other choice.

She added: "This Government has got us into so much trouble. People have to choose between heating, electricity and food. In 2014 this shouldn't be happening. At the end of the day foodbanks are only there because they have to be. Otherwise people would be starving."

A BBC Panorama special on Monday investigated the sharp increase in the use of foodbanks across the UK.

Former Conservative MP Edwina Currie featured in the programme, stating that people are simply making the most of free food available, a claim Mrs Ninnes refutes.

She said people have to be referred to Hayle Foodbank from a professional body, such as Jobcentre Plus.

Furthermore the foodbank will only allow a person to use its services a maximum of six times; a limit imposed to avoid dependency.

Mrs Ninnes said: "We were advised by professionals that six weeks or six visits was enough to give people a help or a boost to just get them through a crisis. It's a hand up not a hand out."

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