Liverpool City Council offices and buildings have become food collection points as part of a campaign to support vulnerable people over the festive period.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, has launched a fresh appeal to support the city’s foodbanks, which will be facing mounting pressure over the weeks ahead.
The council’s team of Charity Champions has established food collection points in a host of public buildings where members of the public can donate items.
The council has teamed up with the Trussell Trust and Fans Supporting Foodbanks to create the campaign.
Everything collected will be sent on to Liverpool’s North and South foodbanks, from where it will be distributed to those in need.
Mayor Anderson said: “Unfortunately, many families are continuing to struggle to support themselves which often results in them going without food. It is hard to believe, but this is a real issue in our city where we have many deprived communities.”
Liverpool is currently undergoing roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) and with claimants having to wait up to five weeks before benefits are paid, the fear is even more people will be forced to the rely on foodbanks.
Mayor Anderson added: “We have urged the government to re-think its plans for welfare reform but to no avail. As pressure on foodbanks continues to rise, supplies are dwindling. This initiative was first suggested by members of council staff who were keen to lend a helping hand as Christmas draws near.”
The two foodbanks are based at St Andrew’s Community Network (North Liverpool) and Bridge Chapel Centre (South Liverpool). They provide emergency parcels, including three days’ worth of food and other basic items, for vulnerable families and people in crisis.
Between them the foodbanks fed more than 11,000 people last year, including more than 3,000 children.
The council has invested £23m in supporting people and families in crisis, including those on low income or at risk of losing their home. This includes £2.7m in crisis payments to help people with the cost of food, fuel and clothes and £3.05m to protect people from reforms to housing benefit payments.
Food parcels are typically made up of long shelf life items such as tinned food, jam and dried rice and pasta.
Simon Huthwaite, who is Operations Manager of St Andrew’s Community Network, said: “Here at North Liverpool Foodbank we are bracing ourselves for a very busy time.
The cold of winter brings its usual challenges for the vulnerable in our society, but this year, the impact of the roll out of Universal Credit cannot be underestimated. We are already 10% busier than last year and the Trussell Trust has shown that in other areas of UC roll out there has been up to a 52 per cent increase in foodbank referrals. If that happens in Liverpool, we will struggle to meet the demand.
“This great initiative by the city council will go a long way to helping us meet that demand. We thank them for this effort and encourage everyone who can, to give what they from the list below.
“It’s not right that anyone in Liverpool is being forced to turn to our foodbank. Our volunteers offer vital support when it matters most, but they should not need to. We want to see an end to local people needing emergency food – with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, we could reach that future. We’re determined to make sure that until that time comes, emergency help is here for people, but there needs to be some long-term change because we don’t want to be here forever.”
The foodbanks often have an urgent need for long-life juice and UHT milk.
Items that are suitable for donation include:
Long life fruit juice.
Dried and packet food.
Christmas puddings and cakes.
Boxes of biscuits, selection boxes and large bars of chocolate.
Snacks and nibbles.
These items can be donated at the following venues:
One Stop Shops: Broadway, City Centre, Dingle, Garston, Kirkdale, Old Swan, Speke and Wavertree.
Libraries: Allerton, Breck Road, Central, Childwall, Croxteth, Dovecot, Fazakerley, Garston, Kensington, Lee Valley, Norris Green, Old Swan, Parklands, Sefton Park, Spellow, Toxteth.
Lifestyles Centres (Alsop, Aquatics, Cardinal Heenan, Garston, Ellergreen, Everton, Millennium, Park Road, Peter Lloyd).
Children’s Centres: Anfield, Belle Vale, Childwall, Church, Clubmoor, County, Croxteth, Dingle, Ellergreen, Everton, Fazakerley, Fountains, Garston, Granby, Hunts Cross, Kensington, Picton, Speke, Stoneycroft, Tuebrook, Vauxhall, Walton, Wavertree, West Derby, Yew Tree.
Park Road Adult Centre.
Granby Adult Centre.
Newsham Adult Centre.
Norris Green Adult Centre
Chair of Fans Supporting Foodbanks, Dave Kelly, said: “Every major town and city has a humanitarian crisis on its streets. This crisis is about to reach epidemic proportions with the roll out of Universal Credit. Experience tells us to expect anything up to an 80 per cent spike once UC is rolled out. We need to become even more focussed on the job ahead. We applaud Mayor Anderson and the city c
ouncil for supporting our campaign. The fight against food poverty needs to be fought not only by the voluntary sector, but also the public and private sector.
“Every fan throughout the city now has the opportunity to join forces ahead of the derby and ensure the city’s food banks are full for the Christmas period and the rollout of UC. The collective solidarity of our citizens is legendary and we hope this will be another example of coming together in the face of austerity and helping out our fellow citizens in need during this period.”
The appeal will run until Friday 30 November. For more information about foodbanks in Liverpool visit the Liverpool City Council’s website: www.liverpool.gov.uk and search for ‘foodbanks’.