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Wednesday, 03 June 2015

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Controversial zero-hours contracts are forcing more people to use Barrow's foodbank than ever before

CONTROVERSIAL zero-hours contracts are forcing more people to use Barrow's foodbank than ever before.

Volunteers at the Barrow foodbank say hard-working employees are turning to them on weeks when they are not given enough hours to cover anything but their household bills.

The team, based at Abbey Road Baptist Church, say they are now running low on a range of food items and are appealing to the public for help.

Ann Mills, Barrow Food Bank project manager, said 286 adults and 183 children had been supplied with emergency food in May alone.

She said: “We are seeing more and more working people coming to us – people who are employed and working hard to try to make a living.

“It’s not simply people on benefits or scroungers – this is a myth we have been working very hard to try to overcome.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in demand because of these zero-hours contracts which make it impossible for people to budget, because they don’t know how much they will be able to earn from week to week.”

“There’s no guarantee of any income,” she added

The foodbank, one of 300 across the country run by the Trussell Trust, has a supply of already donated food in order to be able to make up grocery packs for those in need.

But stocks of tinned meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, UHT fruit juice, pasta sauce and sponge puddings have dwindled.

The situation has resulted in food bank volunteers having to buy in the items required on a daily basis for the past week.

Ms Mills added: “We are lucky in that Tesco give us an amount of money equivalent to a certain percentage of the weight in donations left at their store as well as money raised by individuals and businesses in the area.”

“This safety net is what we have been using to shop with every day this week.

“People are very generous in their food donations, but these are some of the items we don’t get as often and which we do give out regularly.”

Last year Barrow Food Bank helped more than 4,000 people.

Anyone who would like to donate groceries to the foodbank can leave items at collections points across Barrow, including Tesco, Asda and at the Evening Mail’s Abbey Road offices.

There is also a satellite drop-in centre in Ulverston at Bethany Church, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 11am and 1pm and at Millom Baptist Church on Tuesdays and Fridays between 11am and 1pm.

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