Tackling poverty and hunger in London will be a pressing challenge for whoever is elected on 5 May. Latest figures published by The Trussell Trust show a 5 per cent rise in foodbank use in the capital, with 110,000 three-day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis in the last year. Increasingly food banks are providing additional services that help people break out of crisis faster, and reduce the need for repeat referrals. As one visitor to a food bank said:
“You’re only two missed pay checks away from being in poverty. Just five minutes to breathe can really make all the difference, that’s why food banks are such a lifeline.”
Trussell Trust food banks provide three days’ nutritionally balanced food. They also signpost people to other agencies and services able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis. Everyone who comes to a food bank is referred by a professional such as a social worker, health visitor or schools liaison officer.
London is the city with the highest transport costs in the world. We want to make sure people referred to food banks, especially people sick or with a disability, can get food and other help they need without a journey they can’t afford adding to the stress and pressure. We are asking mayoral candidates to support a scheme to provide three free bus vouchers to those referred to a food bank in the given month, to get home with their bags of food.
This initiative will, we believe, ensure that the people foodbanks help are in a better place to get themselves and their families out of crisis. Three free journeys in the month they need our help would provide additional support for the Londoners who need it most.
This simple and relatively inexpensive solution would make a dramatic difference. We hope it is embraced by all candidates.
Andrew Boff, Assembly Member, GLA Conservatives
Tulip Siddiq MP, Hampstead and Kilburn
Daphine Aikens, CEO, Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank
Signed by foodbank leaders in 14 London boroughs:
Carol Bostridge, CEO, Lewisham foodbank
Alan Robinson, CEO, Greenwich foodbank
Dorothea Hackman, Project Manager, Camden foodbank
Dan Frith, Project Manager, Wandsworth foodbank
Felicia Boshorin, Project Manager, Southwark foodbank
Nathan Jones, Project Manager, Waterloo foodbank
Liza Cucco, Project Manager, Hackney foodbank
Kingsley Ofon, Project Manager, Croydon foodbank
Kerry Coe, Project Manager, North Enfield foodbank
Michele Lawrence, Project Manager, Brent foodbank
Elizabeth Mayton, Project Lead, Brixton foodbank
Caroline Ferrier, Project Manager, Richmond foodbank
Janet Fletcher, Administrator, Ealing foodbank