Posts Tagged ‘The Crisis Centre’

Poverty and Foodbanks in Bridgwater

December 15, 2014

Yesterday I put up a post about how my parents had heard a talk by a charity worker in Bristol about the immense growth in poverty in Bristol during the Christingle service, put on by the different churches in my part of Bristol. The speaker was from the Crisis Centre, which provides hot meals, a food bank and a refuge for abused women on Stapleton Road in Bristol’s inner city. The speaker stated that they were serving 600 hot meals a day. They had seen a thirty per cent rise in the people coming to them for food over the past two years. Two thirds of those were not unemployed, but people in work, but paid wages too low to support themselves or their families properly.

Yesterday we had relatives from Bridgwater round for Sunday lunch. Mum mentioned the talk by the charity worker at the Christingle service, and asked them what it was like down their neck of the woods.

The news was similarly not good.

They didn’t know much, only that demand for food was so high that the local food bank had run out. Mum seems to believe that this isn’t the first time it’s happened either.

Bridgwater’s a small but historic town in Somerset. It was the town where the rebels supporting the Duke of Monmouth stayed during, and were subsequently tried by Judge Jefferies for treason after the Battle of Sedgemoor during the ‘Pitchfork Rebellion’ of 1685. During the Middle Ages it and Dunster were two of the ports of the realm in Somerset. Archaeologists have found items and sites in the town dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age, and there was a Roman settlement in what was the site of the Gerber foods factory. It has, unfortunately, something of a reputation for urban blight. There used to be a cellophane factory just outside the town, which left a nasty stink hanging over it. More recently it was no. 45 in the book Crap Towns. Despite this, it is still a town that has a lot of potential.

The news about the immense demand on the food bank there shows just how far poverty has bitten into this part of rural Somerset. And if it’s affected Bridgwater, it’s also taken its toll on the other comparable towns round about.

There’s still a lot of anger in that part of Somerset about the flooding caused by government cutbacks to the flood defences around the Parrett.

Never mind Cameron’s promises of more money and increased funding to save Britain from further inundation, this is what the Tories really feel about poverty in rural England.

Charity Workers’ Christingle Speech on Poverty in Bristol

December 14, 2014

I’ve reblogged pieces here from charity workers, such as Foodbank Helper and others, who are at the sharp end of supplying food to the desperate victims of the Tories’ benefit cuts. Last night my parents heard from charity workers in Bristol about the massive growth in poverty and demand for food there. My parents had gone to the Christingle service at our local church. Amongst the carols and festive performances celebrating the coming of our Lord was a speaker from the Crisis Centre, a charity working in Stapleton Road.

Stapleton Road is in Bristol’s deprived inner city. It’s a multicultural area, which unfortunately has been plagued by poverty, prostitution, drugs and gun crime. A few years ago it was in the news because of a series of killings due to a turf war between different sets of drug gangs. It was stated on the local news that there was a gun-related instead every day in that part of Bristol. That was ten years ago, and things have calmed down since. The poverty, however, remains and appears to have grown.

The Crisis Centre supplies free meals and operates a safe house for women fleeing abuse. The speaker stated that at the moment they are providing 600 meals a day. They have seen a 30% increase in the number of people coming to them for food over the past two years. Two-thirds of these unfortunates are not unemployed, but working. They are simply paid too low to be able to afford to feed themselves and their families.

‘I don’t want to talk politics’, said the speaker, ‘but this is disgusting’.

So it is.

This corroborates and adds to the information provided by left-wing bloggers, charity workers and activists from the rest of the country, such as Mike over at Vox Political, Alittleecon and many others, that the poor in Britain now includes working people, and not simply those on benefits. This is the consequence of Osborne’s pay freeze and welfare cuts.

And it’s going to get a lot worse, as the government is planning to select people claiming in-work benefits at random, and then harass them to get them to stop claiming benefits, just as they are harassing the unemployed.

People are dying because of the Tories’ policies. It has to be stopped. Now.