RISING poverty in Worksop and Bassetlaw has led to an increase in the number of families going hungry - so a new group has been set up to feed those in need.
Due to the recession, rising unemployment and changes to benefits, more and more residents and families are finding themselves in poverty and unable to provide for themselves.
Tracy Gladwin from Portland Street in Worksop was once homeless and hungry.
The 33-year-old mother of five found herself on the doorstep of Worksop charity Hope back in 2008 when she had nowhere else to turn. Now, she’s turned her life around.
“I’d hit rock bottom and needed help,” said Tracy. “I was homeless and had nothing. There was nobody to support me, I had nowhere to go and I was suffering from depression.”
She continued: “Hope fed me, set me up with councillors and doctors and saved me. The support they gave me really got me back on the right track.”
“If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would give it all to Hope. Words can’t explain how they have helped me and without them, I would probably be dead. ”
Tracy now has a house with her eight-month-old twins and partner, but says she is still concerned for the increasing amount of others in need around Worksop and Bassetlaw.
“I know a lot of people who are suffering,” she said. “I still talk to so many people and families who go down to Hope because they’re struggling with either nowhere to live or nothing to eat - it’s an ongoing problem for Worksop.”
Sandy added: “If they took away places like Hope, the town would be overrun with people having nowhere to go.”
Sandy Smith Hope said that she believed that poverty was likely to worsen in the coming years.
“We’ve seen an increase in people like single parents who can’t afford food for their kids,” she said.
“Increases in things like rent has left them with less disposable income, so if there’s a crisis and they aren’t getting their crisis loans then they have to come to places like Hope for help.”
Sandy continued: “Due to upcoming changes in benefits, claimants will be losing 10 per cent of their income to the council. It’s going to be a nightmare.”
Director of the Bassetlaw Citizens’ Advice Bureau Stephen Saddington said that they’re seeing more and more struggling and starving families coming to them for help.
“Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen a fair increase in both individuals and families who have been struggling to pay for basic necessities and food,” he said. “This is largely due to sudden problems and loss of jobs.”
“We are talking about people in their hundreds. Here at CAB we get about two to four families or people a week that can’t afford food.
“It used to be about one person every couple of weeks so that’s quite a large percentage increase for a place the size of Worksop and Bassetlaw - and that’s without considering the people that will be going to other organisations.”
He continued: “We envisage that the number of people requiring help will grow quite significantly over the next couple of years - due to the recession and unemployment being on the rise.”
To help with the growing problem, a group has been set up to bring together local church and charity organisations and to distribute food t those who need it most. The Bassetlaw Food Bank Project aims to provide help to those who are finding it difficult financially to put food on the table due to unforeseen circumstances, such loss of job, fire, flood, or escaping violence.
“Someone needs to be there to help feed the less fortunate,” said Anne Taylor, from the project. “There’s a huge need for this in Bassetlaw - and it’s growing all the time.”
“There are so many people having acute problems with purchasing food for one reason or another in the short term, and that’s going to get worse.”
“We’re here to maintain people in those temporary situations, by working with people like A1 Housing, the Salvation Army and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.”
l The Bassetlaw Food Bank are not only looking for volunteers, premises and funding, but are also holding a competition for local residents to come up with a new name and logo for project.
The prize is £15 vouchers for books or The Crossing Cafe. To enter, send your submission to The Crossing Church and Centre, Newcastle Street, Worksop, S80 2AT or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries should be received by 18th August.
l To give any food or essentials to the project, donations can be left in the box provided in the sanctuary of The Crossing on Newcastle Street. Only tinned, dried and UHT products can be accepted.
l For for more information call 01909 473375 or email email@example.com