Food banks in Skegness area gear up for busy winter in spite of Government's energy lifeline

Foodbanks in the Skegness area are already gearing up for a busy winter in spite of the announcement by new Prime Minister Liz Truss to help the most vulnerable families with soaring energy prices.
Skegness Food Bank manager Jonny Whelbourn and volunteer Sarah FletcherSkegness Food Bank manager Jonny Whelbourn and volunteer Sarah Fletcher
Skegness Food Bank manager Jonny Whelbourn and volunteer Sarah Fletcher

The Prime Minister this morning announced:

Average household energy bills are to be capped at £2,500 a year from October. A typical household's gas and electricity bill had been due to rise from £1,971 to £3,549 in October. Businesses are getting a support package for six months which will provide "equivalent support". After the six-month period, further support will be targeted at "vulnerable industries".. The government is also lifting the ban on fracking - which involves extracting gas and oil from shale rock

The manager at Skegness Food Bank at the Storehouse, Jonny Whelbourn, said clients are already showing signs of worrying about fuel costs.

Spilsby  Christian Fellowship are again collecting for Christmas Stockings to help families in need.Spilsby  Christian Fellowship are again collecting for Christmas Stockings to help families in need.
Spilsby Christian Fellowship are again collecting for Christmas Stockings to help families in need.

"We had kindly been given some sacks of potatoes but already people have asked when we put a box of food together for them if fresh items, which we like to give because they are healthier, can be swapped for items that don’t take so long to cook, such as instant mash or tinned potatoes,” said Jonny. “We’ve also had people wanting to swap fresh eggs for something else because of the time it takes to cook them.”

In the summer the numbers of people using the food bank had fallen but figures for September 1 show 118 people were fed following 67 referrals.

"We had a lull in people coming to the food bank after Universal Credit clients received the Cost of Living Payment of £326 but we are expecting it to get busier as seasonal jobs end,” said Jonny.

"You can never plan for a day – we may have no-one for the first hour then it’s busy all day or it can be busy from the start.”

Judith Coe of Spilsby Christian Fellowship has already launched a Christmas Stocking appeal in addition to running food and uniform banks.

"As expected demand for food parcels has doubled over the last couple of weeks and we expect that to continue,” she said

“Whilst local growers have been very generous with donations of apples/pears and plums, surplus collections from local stores are very much reduced.

“As we are expecting to receive even more demand for Christmas stockings this year from local referral groups, we are already asking local people with new or ‘good as new gifts’ they don't want – toiletries, stationery, small toys, etc – to please pop them in a bag and pass them onto us, or pop them in the grey bin at the front of church,

“The school uniform bank has been busy and we continue to get requests coming in. Fortunately, donations of uniform this year have been plentiful, enabling us to support over 100 families just in August.

“Our new venture ‘Trinity Reuse’ is currently under construction. This will provide families with clothing, toys, kitchenalia, household items gifts, etc at sensible prices. This will also hopefully become a venue for recycling craft workshops.

“The help announced by the government will go some way towards helping, .but other costs continue to rise and families have taken a big knock.

“We are still finding the families in most need are those working, who just can't keep up with the bills but get no help at all.

"So generally they can't get referrals to food banks, free school dinners or help when they have an unexpected bill.

"The ‘household fund’ did help in some instances.

"However, we find these families really are struggling and taking measures to save every penny. This is the main reason why we do not operate on a solely referral basis.”

This will be the third year, with the support of local businesses, schools and individuals that Spilsby Christian Fellowship have filled and delivered stockings to local vulnerable families and individuals.

Stockings were filled with small gifts, toys, luxury items including foods and a larger (age appropriate) gift for each child, helping to brighten their Christmas and spread some love.

Last year, the church sent out 150 stockings/gift bags. This year they anticipate 200 stockings and so need more gifts.

In addition to the appeals mentioned, Spilsby Christian Fellowship is also collecting pre-loved Christmas jumpers. Last year they were sold for £2 adults and £1 children and the money used to buy gifts for the Christmas stockings.

Judith said the church is grateful for all the support give to help those who need it most. She said: “We send a heartfelt thanks to everyone who helps us by way of donations, time or support. It is only through this continued support that we are able to pass on the support to others.”

The following items are welcome at food banks to provide a nutritionally balanced menu for three days:

- Tinned fruit and vegetables

- Tinned potatoes

- Tinned meatballs, chilli con carne or stew

- Tinned rice pudding

- Instant mashed potato

- UHT milk

- Pasta sachets

- Pasta and pasta sauce

- Biscuits

- Beans

- Soup

- Tea bags

- Cereals

- Instant porridge

To donate to the Children’s Hospital Pyjamas appeal, they must be brand new; preferably sealed but not wrapped. They can be for boys or girls, aged from newborn to young adult (clothing size large).

This year, the collection runs until November 31, after which they will be delivered to the hospitals.

All details regarding type, collection points, delivery options and a wish list are in the about section of the Children’s Hospital Pyjamas Facebook page. Pyjamas can also be purchased online, or via our Amazon wish list, and sent to: Children’s Hospital Pyjamas, Spilsby Christian Fellowship, Spilsby, Lincolnshire, PE23 5LA

Skegness Food Bank is located at the Storehouse on North Parade.