“The foodbank was a lifesaver.” Your support is helping us to change lives.
Story from a client in the Borough of Bromley.
“It was nice to be talked to like a human being.”
A client’s testimony November 2016.
When a lady came in to one of our outlets this November she was clearly extremely upset and in despair. She did not know where to turn so came to us.
As a single mum who had just moved into the area to stay safe, she had no family or friends locally. She had applied for her benefits to be transferred, and having been told there would be no problem was shocked to receive a letter saying all income benefit would be stopped. As a result all her other means of support were being taken away, not only leaving her with nothing, but also the very real risk that she and her toddler son would be on the streets, homeless.
Two of our managers listened to her at length enabling her to feel better and reassuring her that she would be assisted by Foodbank to sort out the benefits situation as well as giving her an emergency supply of food. Her little boy was kept amused by others helping him do some colouring and by reading him stories.
After a long thirty minutes waiting on the phone she was finally put through to the benefits office who then promised to investigate further and ring back the same day. We made an appointment for her to go to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau the next day if it proved necessary and asked her to come back and let us know what had transpired.
Two days later she returned with this letter:-
Dear Foodbank team, I have to say a very big thank you to you all for helping me when I came in two days ago after Income Support had stopped all my benefit without warning and that this would potentially mean all my other benefits would be suspended. I truly appreciate all your concern and care towards myself and most importantly my son which helped a lot. It was nice to be sat down and to be talked to like a human by someone who only showed care, and it was very relieving.
I have now sorted out all my benefit. I got a call saying my claim had been reopened.
I have recommended and will surely recommend you to others in need. If I ever come across this I’m sure in future I definitely know where to turn to.
(Name given but not to be published for safety reasons.)
“Without the foodbank, I don’t think I would be here today.”
Having worked in the police force for six years, followed by 12-years in the Royal Military Police, Richard, 49, from New Milton, had always considered himself fit and healthy. However, this all changed when a chest infection quickly developed into a heart condition and he suffered from two major strokes followed by 19 mini strokes, leaving him unable to work.
Richard’s situation deteriorated further when he separated from his wife and moved out of their family home, where, unfortunately due to this change of address his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was delayed. As a result of his serious heart condition Richard needs 35 tablets a day, but the cost of travelling to collect his prescriptions left him without enough money for food, and his local Citizens Advice Bureau referred him to the foodbank.
Although Richard admits he never expected to be in this situation, on arrival he was put at ease straight away. “The volunteers were fantastic, offering a chat and a shoulder to cry on. I suffer from depression as well and without the foodbank I don’t think I would be here today,” he said.
Richard looks forward to seeing his 10-year-old daughter every weekend but admits he has skipped meals on a few occasions so she can eat. He explains: “It’s a really bad situation that people have to decide whether they can feed themselves, feed their children or put the heating on. It’s a case of having to budget or having to go without.”
At the moment things are still tough for Richard, he’s on the waiting list for a heart transplant and will be on medication for the rest of his life, but he’s grateful that the foodbank is available if he ever needs some extra help.