Category: Food Bank

Last night a DJ saved my life…

Nightclub plugs gap in city’s food need

Unite Live – Rae Passfield, Monday, December 22nd, 2014

In an unlikely partnership, Unite Community Sheffield have joined forces with a nightclub to bring supplies to Fir Vale food bank this Christmas.

Management at The Plug nightclub in Sheffield city centre opened their box office for food donations last month and is working with the Unite community team to deliver supplies to the food bank.

It’s going really well,” said The Plug manager, Adele Bailey. “People are donating and I find it exceedingly humbling to help the food bank.”

Certainly, the strains felt by the poorest in the country are even tougher at this time of year.

“You see these TV ads with tables groaning with food – enough food to feed an army, let alone a family,” said David Kirkham, Unite community Sheffield branch chair.

“While there are people who have been put in a position where they can’t afford to even put the basics on the table, or have to choose between feeding their children or themselves.

“Sheffield is the fourth largest city in the sixth richest country in the world, it’s completely disgusting that this is happening to people,” he added.

The steel city currently has 16 food banks, but none quite like Fir Vale.

“Anyone who is in need of food can use Fir Vale without having to go through the rigmarole of jumping through hoops to get referrals,” David explained.

“When people are struggling with the realities of low pay, zero hours contracts and cuts to the social security the last thing they want is to have to justify themselves as to why they should have some food just to stay alive over Christmas,” he added.

Unusually Fir Vale is ran in the spirit of a café; at 2 o’clock each day it welcomes people in where tea, coffee, fresh fruit, cake, and biscuits are all freely available to enjoy in a comfortable, friendly environment.

After this, the food bags are distributed and people go back to their homes.

“We run it this way because it would be very undignified for people to queue up around the block to get their food bag. It would bring back images of the Victorian workhouse era,” said Reverend Louise Collins, co-founder and volunteer of Fir Vale.

“Using a food bank is certainly not a highlight in your life, but given that there is a need, we do try to make it as pleasant as possible for people,” she added.

But despite the efforts of the community to retain optimism, the increasing need for food banks highlights a grim failure by the government.

“They are only a sticky plaster on a much bigger problem that, from what I’ve seen, lies in the benefits administration,” Reverend Collins said.

The government rejected evidence showing the rise in demand for food banks as a direct result of Tory welfare reforms, with millionaire welfare minister Lord Freud claiming that there would always be “infinite demand” for free food.

“This is obscene language coming from these people, especially when you consider wining and dining that goes on and the expenses they are allowed to claim,” David Kirkham commented.

“The people who run the country can justify their huge wealth and privilege because they have all the power,” he added.

“If people want the choices in life that they deserve they are really going to have to fight and take action together as a community and overturn what is happening.”

Local food bank support

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Unite Community members continue to support our local food bank, making another vital food donation this week (pictured above).

Unite Community donations to food kitchen

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Unite Community members have donated food to a Barnsley kitchen for people living in poverty, a large number of who are homeless. The charity cooks over 350 hot meals every week. A sad reflection of Tory Britain.

Doncaster Food Bank

The Food Bank run by members of Unite Community is getting busier by the week.  We are getting more and more people coming for help as the welfare cuts bite deep into the heart of our community.  We hear stories of extreme poverty, desperation and hopelessness that make us even more determined to continue to provide at least some relief for some of those affected.

We would be unable to provide this help without the generosity of Unite Industrial Branch’s that have once again provided the funds to replenish our rapidly diminishing stocks.   We also need to express our gratitude to the many members of the public who, week on week make donations of either food or cash.

In the last week we have had members of the public hand us donations of £10, £5 and £2 and though these amounts are not great individually they do make a significant difference collectively, and that illustrates one of the objectives of Unite Community, that collectively we can make a difference.

We have contacted two local Members of Parliament and have received responses expressing their concern at the number of people who need to use food banks, however despite providing a PayPal account reference we have yet to receive a donation from them.

All donations are welcomed and if anyone can help donations can be made at PapPal account. I have set this up as a private account to avoid charges and to ensure that every penny donated goes towards maintaining the food bank.

Once again many thanks to Unite and the general public for their continued support.

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Doncaster Unite Community Food Bank

Doncaster Unite Community Members stock up on food for their Food bank with donations made by our industrial members. The fivefold increase in the use of Food Banks is a disgrace in this the seventh richest country in the World. That being said we refuse to stand by while others suffer and continue to campaign against the causes of food and fuel poverty. Working class solidarity in action.


Barnsley Unite Community supports local foodbank

Barnsley Unite Community activists continued to support their local food bank today with another donation. The Unite team have built up a great relationship with the foodbank over the last year and the community center acts as a voucher point for people to collect. The foodbank refers people up to the center for welfare support and advice.

Practical solidarity in action!
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Doncaster Food Bank

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Doncaster suffers from above average unemployment and the Council has compounded the situation by reducing their employees by many hundreds over the last three years, and announcing recently that approximately a further twelve hundred jobs are to be lost as a result of the reduction of £109 million in Government funding.

Against this background, coupled with the desperate situation many people find themselves in when trying to heat their homes, members of Unite Community, along with members of other protest groups in Doncaster, namely Doncaster Against the Cuts and the Doncaster Peoples Assembly decided to highlight the situation by setting up a Food Bank in the town centre on one Saturday in November.

The intention initially was to bring the issue of people having to choose between heating the home or feeding themselves.  However, the response we received was shocking with a number of people bringing heartbreaking stories of poverty and hunger, often brought about through Draconian unfair sanctions placed upon them by the employment service or unfair medical assessments that ruled severely disabled people we’re fit for work.

Consequently, from mid November members of Unite Community have operated a Food Bank in Doncaster town centre every Saturday and the number of people using this has increased week on week.  The finance for the Food Bank has come from a range of sources.  Initially we had collections at various group meetings, but as we have become more prominent we have had donations from members of the public.  These have been in the form of either cash donations or food donations.

There already exists several Food Banks in Doncaster but these have strict rules on who can use them, often only through a referral from the employment service, and on the number of times in a year they can be used.  Our view is that if someone is so desperate that they have to use a Food Bank restricting them to four times a year, which I believe some do, is ridiculous and so we have no restrictions on usage.

This policy however does place great pressure on our limited resources and we were grateful that the Doncaster branch of Unite recently agreed to provide additional funds to support our activities.

We recognise that our activities will have a limited impact on the total number of people in Doncaster who are suffering hardship, but while ever we have the finance to continue we will make at least some inroads into addressing the consequences of the unfair and cruel policies that are putting so many people at risk.

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Unite Community / Food Bank Donation

Unite Community members from the Barnsley Centre hand over huge food parcel to our partners at the Gateway food bank. Working class solidarity in action.

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