Together we can fight poverty in Hull and East Yorkshire

Published: Tuesday 17th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Today is International Eradication of Poverty Day. Here is how you can help those in need.

We spoke with two of the many charities in the city who work tirelessly to ease the burden of the poverty that affects so many people.

Hull is a traditionally deprived city. Currently, one in three children grows up in poverty, which is a staggering statistic. In 2016, a report stated that the city has the highest number of communities where people are at an increased risk of not being able to afford to feed themselves.

Hull Foodbank is one of the 428 food banks across the country run by the Trussell Trust. Founded in 2011, this particular branch has helped a great number of poverty-stricken families and individuals, with over 5,500 three-day emergency supplies given out in 2016/2017 alone.

“We have a voucher system. People are referred to us through an agency or charity if they are struggling with low income or debt. We will give them three days’ worth of food to tide them over,” Russ Barlow, Manager at Hull Foodbank tells us.

“We also signpost them to other charities to try and get to the bottom of what is causing their difficulties. We give out the food as it’s just one less thing to worry about when you’re in a vulnerable situation.”

Out of the 5,600 people helped in the last year, 1,300 of those were children: “The bank is getting busier each year, unfortunately. Food banks are just one aspect of tackling poverty. The Trussell Trust regularly liaises with the government, campaigning and passing on statistics to present a fuller picture of the poverty that affects the whole of the UK,” Russ explains.

“One of the main contributors to the situation is the rolling of our Universal Credit. The Trust has recently lobbied the government to suspend it. A lot of people are having to wait six weeks without anything whilst it gets sorted out.”

The Trussell Trust works closely with local and national agencies to find ways to prevent poverty and crisis happening in the first place:

“Food banks are a small and immediate way of helping people out, but there are people going hungry and we’re providing much-needed food to families whilst the government sort themselves out,” says Russ.

There are a number of ways in which you can help Hull Foodbank. They are always looking for volunteers to distribute food to individuals, as well as donations of money and non-perishable foods.

“We’re so lucky that there is a lot of community spirit in Hull; many schools, businesses and churches are regularly donating to help those in need,” Russ adds. “It’s a shame that food banks have to exist, but whilst there is a necessity, we’re doing a very valuable job.”

Andrew Smith, CEO of Hull Homeless Community Project, agrees that something more has to be done to combat the city’s rising poverty levels:

“It’s evident from the amount of food banks that have popped up around the country over the past few years that poverty levels are increasing. For me, it’s a sign that we need to do more as a community to tackle the problem.”

Hull Homeless Community Project is run entirely by volunteers. The organisation strives to prevent homelessness and engage with those affected by it through a wide range of services. These include community outreach sessions, drop-in days, a regular children and families club and a mobile hub, as well as educating the general public about homelessness and its many forms.

“It is also important to recognise that there are many different people with many different needs,” explains Andrew. “The big thing is for everyone to understand why these individuals are facing poverty.”

To get involved, find out more about Hull Foodbank and Hull Homeless Community Project.

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Published: Tuesday 17th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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