Norwich’s waste food could be given to the homeless

The Norwich FoodHub hopes to visit retailers in the city to collect fruit, vegetables and bakery products that would otherwise be thrown out.001

It would then hand out the items to various local charities which work with people in need.

Rowan Van Tromp, 22, of Lowestoft, is the co-ordinator of the Norwich FoodHub. He said: “Using food waste to feed the hungry is not a solution to food poverty. That should be addressed through fair and sustainable welfare policies. However, while both food waste and food poverty coexist we need to organise so that this food can be used to help people in need.”

It comes as environment secretary and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss said yesterday that everyone had a responsibility to cut down on food waste.

According to the charity WRAP, an estimated 15 million tonnes of produce is thrown out each year by supermarkets and households in the UK.

In an attempt to reduce this figure in Norwich, the FoodHub would collect safe-to-eat food that is due to be thrown out by supermarkets.

Through a central market stall, it would then distribute the food to various charities which help people in need.

Mr Tromp intends to contact the city council to try to set up a market stall.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “A range of ideas have been proposed about how Norwich City Council might support charities and organisations currently working to tackle food waste and food poverty.

“This work is very much ongoing and the council will support appropriate schemes and projects where it can.”

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Nurses turning to food banks and seeking debt advice due to NHS cuts

Nurses are increasingly turning to food banks and pay day lenders after years of public sector pay freezes, a union has warned.

Undervalued nurses are forced to seek advice about debts, bankruptcy and homelessness, according to new figures from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).11745635_10204603452022427_4507785575538908987_n

More than 1,200 nurses called the union’s member support helpline between January and July, needing advice on welfare, ill-health, disability and other issues.

This included 231 asking for help with debts and bankruptcy.

The figures come as Janet Davies, the union’s new general secretary and chief executive, told the Guardian of anecdotal evidence that nurses are increasingly turning to food banks and payday lenders.

She said years of public sector pay restraint was leaving nurses feeling undervalued and could push some to leave the profession.

The union’s counseling service has also seen a rise in the number of nurses needing help with stress.

Problems filling rotas is also leading to an even greater reliance on expensive agency staff.

Ms Davies said: “These huge agency bills, nurses going to food banks – this is not a great place to be.”

She said more nurses were choosing agency or bank nursing because they could earn more money.

And she said a further pressure on pay was the increasing prevalence of “downbanding”, where a senior nursing post is re-evaluated and downgraded.

Read more here:

#cut, #cuts, #debt, #foodbank, #nhs-2, #welfare-cuts

HSBC Glitch Leaves Thousands Facing Bank Holiday Without Pay

Thousands of people did not receive their wages on Friday because of an IT glitch at HSBC bank .

Around 275,000 individual payments failed to go through on Friday leaving potentially hundreds of thousands of people without their pay on just before the bank holiday weekend.

The Mail Online reports:

Britain’s biggest bank, which has 16million UK customers, revealed yesterday an IT glitch meant they failed to transfer hundreds of millions of pounds on pay day.

Victims complained about being unable to pay their mortgages or not having any money at all after discovering the issue this morning.

The fault meant that salaries were not transferred from HSBC business accounts to the accounts of employees, including those who bank elsewhere.

In posts made on Twitter, HSBC stated: ‘We are currently processing payments that were not credited to customers’ accounts. The majority of payments will be completed today with the remainder to be completed overnight.

‘We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.’

Last night the bank said the majority of payments had been made.

They said on Twitter: ‘Over 99% of payments that were delayed today have now been processed, with the remaining to be credited overnight.

‘HSBC apologises again for the inconvenience caused’

This morning responding to customer complaints HSBC UK wrote: ‘We expect any remaining payments to be made today. I’m so sorry for the delay.’

The Bacs system transfers £50billion across Britain every day but the problem appears to be confined to HSBC.

A source said that the fault was at HSBC’s end and involved an incorrect piece of IT code and added they were not hacked.

The system failure means businesses who bank with HSBC were unable to pay staff, pay bills or other transfers via the Bacs system – the main way all banks transfer cash to other accounts.

In April Royal Bank of Scotland’s systems failed and it later emerged 600,000 customers were hit and last year it was fined a record £56million after they locked millions out of their accounts.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer group Which?, said: ‘Banks have suffered a series of unacceptable failures with their IT systems in recent years and this latest one at HSBC will do little to reassure consumers that banks are making improvements.

‘It’s essential regulators continue to take tough action to ensure banks properly maintain the payments system we all rely on, and we expect HSBC to fully compensate anyone affected.’

HSBC could incur huge costs from the error, both in compensation from customers and victims as well as a fine from Britain’s banking regulator the Financial Conduct Authority.LAL4

An HSBC spokesman said yesterday: ‘There has been a fault in the information used to process some payments from HSBC business customers.

‘Approximately 275,000 payments have been affected, including payments to customers of other banks.

‘HSBC apologises for the inconvenience this has caused. We are taking immediate steps to ensure the payments reach beneficiaries as quickly as possible.

#bank, #bankers, #banks, #foodbank, #foodbanks, #hsbc, #payments

Desperation leading to crime

COMMUNITY groups and politicians have spoken out against the impact of benefits sanctions after a man with a previously unblemished criminal record appeared in court claiming he had been driven to steal after his benefits were stopped.

Gordon Curtis appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court recently where he admitted stealing a watch and bracelet from Carniedrouth Farm, near Cardross, on November 12, 2013.

The 37-year-old was in the area looking for farm work and when he found no one was in, broke in to the house and took the items.

His solicitor told the court the crime ‘was one of desperation’ after he had problems with his benefits, and had to get quick money to survive and support his family.

There have been a number of instances in England since the introduction of sanctions where people have been convicted of crimes after having their benefits stopped.

One high-profile case highlighted an incident in which a young mum who shop lifted to feed her 18 month old baby after being sanctioned.

Curtis was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work, to be done within six months and placed him under supervision for a year.

Following the Curtis case, councillors and community groups have called the incident ‘a sign of the times’.

The SNP’s Jonathan McColl said many councillors are no longer shocked at the desperate measures some people take.

He said: “Sadly such cases of impulse theft are becoming more and more common because the welfare state safety net that is supposed to be there to help people in desperate circumstances is being cut away.

“It’s not just that welfare budgets are being cut, but just as dangerous is are the changes in assessments and the criteria applied when the DWP sanction people. Every councillor in West Dunbartonshire has heard heartbreaking stories from their constituents and we are powerless to do anything to change the systems.

“But there are enough people out there who care and support is available. Anyone who finds themselves in such an impossible situation should contact the council, CAB, or Independent Resource centre, all of whom can point them in the direction of the help they need from local community groups and other organisations.”

Socialist councillor for Leven Jim Bollan told the Reporter the case was ‘not surprising’.

He said: “It is not rocket science to understand when poverty and despair deepens, crime will rise.The riots in London a few years ago are a precursor to what is to come in many of our cities and localities as the inhuman brutal cuts from the Tories deepen.

“Sanctions are punitive, immoral, and force many people into actions they would normally never consider.

“More and more of my constituents are having to go to foodbanks as the cuts gather pace. We are in a class war and people will fight in many different ways to feed themselves and their families.”

Christina Logan, of Lomond Foodbank, said she hadn’t come across with anyone who has committed a crime because of sanctions directly, but admits these are desperate times.

She said: “These people are in absolute desperation. I’ve had people not eat at all for days between food bank visits. I know of one case of someone eating bread from bins at a large supermarket in the town. Someone spotted them, and the next time they went back, they’d poured bleach all over their bins.

“I don’t condone anyone stealing at all, it’s wrong to steal from anyone, but if you have children, what are you to do?”

A solicitor in Dumbarton told the Reporter: “I am aware anecdotally of cases where people have explained their stealing as being forced upon them by harsh economic pressures. I couldn’t say I’m aware of strong evidence that Benefits Agency Sanctions are directly contributing to an increase in crimes of dishonesty, although loss of benefit can often force people to resort to desperate measures.”

The above article is from

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#banks, #crime, #food, #foodbank, #foodbanks, #sanction, #sanctions

Why Giving Money to the Homeless Will Change You

When I was growing up in Edinburgh in the 70s and 80s there were fewer homeless people around. Mostly they were older men who hung around the Grassmarket. I remember being told they were alcoholics. A rumour did the rounds at school that they drank meths – ‘You know, like in chemistry.’ Today in my hometown things have changed. There is a beggar on almost every block and they are younger and sometimes female and most of them don’t have issues round alcohol. In the last couple of years the problem has become more and more visible.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to watch a TED talk a day. I’m a novelist and my stock in trade is ideas – so I think of these talks as yoga for the mind – a way to stretch myself. Recently I watched one by Sasha Dichter of the Acumen Fund– a non profit organisation that invests to alleviate poverty around the world. Sasha shared the results of his month-long “Generosity Experiment” where he said “yes” to every request for help. That’s every personal request – he gave money out on the street.

I was inspired by this idea. Sasha said he wanted to make generosity a habit and to do that he’d have to practice. I decided to run my own generosity experiment. I walk past beggars all the time. I decided I would take out £100 – a small but not insignificant amount of money to me – and that I would give it away to 20 people at £5 a time. I wanted to see how it would make me feel – if it would change me.

The first thing I realised was that I had two latent fears – the first was that I would ‘waste’ my money. Handing over a fiver suddenly felt like a risk. What if the homeless person I gave it to spent the money on (horror) booze or drugs? I decided that was their call. I wasn’t going to allow the spectre of those old men in the Grassmarket to haunt me. I’ve spent £100 on worse, I told myself and I hoped that at least some of my money would be put to good use. My second fear was that I would somehow become drawn in. That I would followed or harried or, worse, that my association with a homeless person would prove infectious and that bad luck would dog me. This was a ridiculous idea but it was there – a voice at the back of my head that whispered It can happen to anyone. It can happen to you. That’s how afraid we are of poverty. I decided to walk towards my fear instead of running away from it.

It took two days to give out the money. The first person I chose was an ex-serviceman sitting on the pavement outside Vodaphone. It took him a couple of seconds to realise I had given him a note. His face lit up. ‘Thank you. I can buy lunch now,’ he said. That shocked me. Somewhere at the back of my mind I had the idea that beggars had at least some money in their pockets. I continued. An old man who looked as if he might cry, another guy who jumped up and was so ridiculously grateful that I had to stop the experiment for a little to get over it. A girl the same age as my daughter who smiled but didn’t say anything. It did become a habit for me, quite quickly – as Sasha had said. It did change me – for the better, I think. I am more grateful for my privileges and less wary. I can’t give out £100 every two days but I do give more and I feel the better for it. I feel more brave.

The nation was recently transfixed by SNP MP Mhairi Black’s Maiden Speech in which she talks about a jobseeker who fainted because he hadn’t eaten for five days. That such poverty exists in our country is shocking enough but that such lack of generosity exists among us is even worse. How many people could have bought that man a sandwich or given him a fiver to get some food? I’m a member of Women for Independence and my group (in Edinburgh) has started fundraising for something almost unimaginable – women who have no money to buy sanitary towels. Yes, you read that right – imagine bleeding and not having a tampon or a towel. We have now raised over £1000 to help foodbanks provide sanitary protection – if you’re feeling generous you can donate.

The rise in poverty in our country is daunting because individually we can’t solve the problem and our Government seems set on making it worse. During my experiment, I passed a Dad with his two young sons. One of the little boys pointed at a beggar and asked to give him a coin. ‘We never EVER give money to beggars, understand?’ the father grabbed the little boy by the arm and dragged him away. I gave the beggar a fiver but what I keep going back to is that little boy. His father was both angry and afraid of his suggestion – what is that child going to feel about poverty as he grows up and if he replicates his father’s anger and fear how on earth are we ever going to beat it?

The above article is written by Sara Sheridan for Find the original here.

#foodbank, #foodbanks, #homeless, #homelessness, #poverty