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Your kindness at Christmas has a real impact on people struggling the most

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It’s Christmas Eve, and this morning I delivered the last two of three hundred Christmas hampers. I don’t work for Harrods, or M&S, or anyone else who might spring to mind when you think about hamper deliveries; I work for Salisbury Foodbank. And each one of these three hundred hampers will go to families and individuals who are struggling to put food on the table this Christmas.

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Ministers need to admit that benefits problems are linked to foodbank use

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David Prior (Lord Prior of Brampton) is no toff, he’s a modest man. He had a career in merchant banking then another in the steel industry. In his previous Parliamentary incarnation he was a diligent constituency Member for a not very affluent part of Norfolk. Like most Parliamentarians, he was a good deal closer to ‘real people’ than any departmental officials, journalists, special advisers or spin-doctors. Leaving The House hors de combat in 2001, he pursued a thoughtful and blameless life in the NHS and in education. Now he is a Health Minister. He knows about statistics.

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Hunger in the UK – Do You Really Believe It’s True?

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Today’s Feeding Britain 2015-16 report by a cross-party group of MPs, led by the impressive Frank Field, highlights the ‘tragedy’ that there are still people across our country going hungry.

Really, just stop and think about that for a moment. There are people in our country, in your town, hey, maybe even in your street, going hungry today. Do you believe it’s true? Do you wonder how it’s possible?

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When You Run a Foodbank, Our Food Poverty Crisis Becomes All More Real

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I like to be optimistic and would like to think that we won’t have York Foodbank in another three years, simply because there will no longer be a need for it. For that to happen we must listen to the experiences of the people that we see. We must support people and help them out of crisis, but we must also identify what is driving people into Foodbanks, then advocate for change.

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Listening to the lives behind the foodbank statistics

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The Trussell Trust, along with dozens of representatives from its UK network of foodbanks, were in parliament yesterday speaking with MPs and Peers about the work they do to combat hunger and poverty.

Hosting the event, Chris White MP commended the varied work of the Trussell Trust’s foodbanks, particularly noting “the range of services offered by the Trust, including financial advice and life skills training.”

Parliamentarians were more than aware that they need to do their bit to tackle poverty including looking into problems with welfare delivery.  44% of people referred to foodbanks are there due to delays with or changes to their benefits. The room went away with a renewed sense of purpose to do more to solve issues for the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society, at an important time for decision makers who are currently considering proposed tax credit changes.

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No, having a smartphone doesn’t mean you’re not poor

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On Saturday one of Hackney’s most successful sons, Lord Sugar, spoke out on what he sees as the absence of real poverty in Britain today.

Decrying those who claim poverty yet own mobile phones or microwaves, Lord Sugar suggested “If you really want to know what poor is like go and live where I lived in Hackney [as a child], where you didn’t have a shilling for the meter.”

Shillings may now be obsolete, but the problem of having no money for the meter is not.

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Dear Richard Littlejohn: Please Don’t Pretend That Hunger and Poverty Are Not Real, Right Here, Right Now

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I don’t want to question the fact that Mr Littlejohn has a job to do, and that job happens to be a columnist, and that being a columnist happens to require the ability to write to extremes.

Neither do I have the time or inclination to defend myself or other (female) foodbank volunteers who were on the sneering end of Mr Littlejohn’s typing finger today. I’d hazard a guess that most volunteers actually couldn’t give a whistle what Mr Littlejohn thinks of us; we just think it’s important to help out our neighbours who are struggling.

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What’s wrong with benefit sanctions?

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Picture this: you’re ten minutes late for a meeting at work. You’re very sorry. You explain to your boss how the bus was on diversion and took half an hour longer than usual. Your boss has no time to discuss it and simply tells you that you won’t get paid this month. That’s it, not a fine, or some kind of reduction, but nothing, no pay, absolutely nothing.

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The test of a ‘One Nation’ budget

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A country of security and opportunity for everyone, at every stage of life; these were the words David Cameron used to set out his bold One Nation vision in the Queen’s Speech this May.

As we digest the results of the budget today, the words seem as good a test to judge it by as any. To be true to the One Nation ideal the budget must answer a simple question those of us in the foodbanks movement ponder every day. What can be done to reduce the number of people in poverty and hunger?

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