Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Food Banks - BBC Programme last night

Hmm Don't know if you caught the very late food bank programme on BBC. It should be on I player.

Raised some questions for me.

Food banks while delivering food as an emergency is all well and good. You need to be referred to a food bank from various sources/agenices and deemed to be in need. I have sympathy for genuine peeps who are in this predicament. Changes in circumstanes - a delayed payment of benefits etc etc

One family with five children where parent had gone to university and the wife worked part time had their housing benefit mucked up and had got into debt. She had also had difficulties actually getting the food and was judged. They were clearly genuine.

However my main issue was that no one was actually advising these people how to make their food last longer, work to a budget etc.

One family of four claimed they needed £90 a week to feed themselves properly!!! They were on benefits and regularly used the food bank.

Now life on benefits is tough and you need to be super frugal. But !!!!£90 Get real! Thats proper luxury in my book!

There were a few people who had got into debt with those legal loan sharks such as Wonga and Money Exchange that had ridiculous interest rates and will take everything from your bank account as means of re payment leaving you with nothing. A few people had fallen into this trap but borrowing is another story.  I have sympathy as they are clearly not the most money/credit savy of folk if they felt the need to use a loan source such as this.  What they needed the loan for I don't know.  But we can all make mistakes with these evil sources who are nothing but legal loop hole loan sharks.

Point. Most months I am skint and know I have to tighten the belt and not spend on stuff I don't need.
Food is a priority. £30 feeds me and Weeny and Biggles at weekends very adequately.  I could reduce this easily to £20. All household stuff in included in this. Utilities I budget for as well. Drastically. £25 per month on gas and £25 per month on Electric. This builds up over time as so far I haven't spent all this but you never know with winter and what it may bring.

Can I use a food bank please? It would really help. But because I budget and live in my meagre means I am deemed ok. And its tight. Very tight.

Maybe as a welfare move the government/ food banks needs to teach people how to budget for food ,electricity etc (Mr C's Big new society should be able to rustle up some volunteers) - on benefits then just like the employability coursesfor  job seekers that they must attend after a while, what about budgeting courses that are also mandatory. Especially if they have children. Learn how rto eek out mince with grated carrot, learn how to cook veg! Jees!

Do I feel crap at times that my daughter does not have a nice house like her little pals? Has to wear second hand clothes, has second hand toys??? Yes but it changes nowt and we get on with it. Suck it up and move on.

And loads of these people had pets. Poor pets.. Did they get fed??? I would love to have a dog but know I couldn't afford the care and up keep.

Priorities me thinks.  grump and grump.



  1. And I bet they have a TV in every bedroom and don;t actually spend time talking to their children...I am with you on this particular soapbox. X

  2. My other half and I both grew up in straightened circumstances despite having working parents (benefits did not exist back when we were kids) but he was always hungry whereas though there was nothing going spare I was never left hungry! Some people are just better at managing than others I guess!

  3. I checked the Trussel Trust website and they have a shopping list - very basic that they give to people/recommend for their three day emergency food supplies. its not fancy but half of the peeps on the TV last night were gettting much nicer food of little or no actual nutritional value - high in carbs etc etc. Some budgeting for the future advice - or food stretching like grating a carrot into mince to make it go further woudl be useful - but for some folks vegetables are the devils spawn.
    Time we taxed all that frozen food and put it out of peoples reach financially like they do in scandinavian countries and the same with beer. ok stepping off soap box!

  4. My mum grew up in the same circumstances and knew all the tricks and thankfully passed them on to me and made sure we had a healthy respect for vegetables and broth of the scottish variety and stovies.... square sausage, sliced potatoe and onion stewed all together in gravy in one pot. High in fat and carbs but filling and cheap as chips.

    My Dad too. They could make meals out of anything - faggots, brains, tongue, trotters- you name it they would and could eat it. Bread and dripping - nothing was wasted in our house. It was a habit they got into and couldn't do waste.

    Frozen food was a special treat. oats in mince to bulk it out, carrot chucked in etc etc Four meals from a chicken!

    I think today people need to get familliar with their veg again and move away from the processsed food that they rely on. Some teaching with the foodbank parcels would be a good idea. How to budget and stretch out your food.

    Some people are better like you say at managing on a budget and the tricks need to be shared.

  5. As a vegan our food is by and large prepared from scratch and my upbringing stood me in great stead for that as my siblings and I were mucking in with housework, shopping and cooking from an early age! I do think that people have become reliant on and/or addicted to high sugar/fat processed foods and it's true that lessons are required but not sure whether they would help in a lot of cases! People seem to want a quick fix and to have everything right now!

  6. Agree they want a quick fix and the addiction thing. Lessons may not help in a lot of cases but if we can explain that if they stick to their budget and eek out their food in the healthiest way possible then it may give them more money for booze and fags/sky tv/tatoos without feeling guilty that they are not feeding their kids/staffie dogs we might be able to encourage a few.. not that I am stereotying of course.... ;-)

  7. Agree with you Eeck. Some people have different priorities, fags, booze and going out first, food second, and if they can get fed for free they will.

  8. When we had free debt advice and support from the financial advisers at a church near us, they actually refused to believe my food and household budget. (£70 a week for a family of six and most of that organic.) The number of times they told me I must be spending more than that... We have lived on much less than that before!

  9. It can be done if you are canny with cooking and can meal plan and great for the organic. We do some but not all organic veg as with only the two of us plus Biggles when he comes home some veg can go to waste.
    I did feel for the lady with five kids who had a horrible time at the food bank. By the end of the programme you could see how much she had gone down and that her troubles were weighing on her.

    When I had free debt advice they told me I should be spending more on food and alloting more to it than I actually do. As it turns out I managed the debt by selling my house etc and taking a major hit but such is!

    There are clearly some folk who really need it - Eg the lady with the five kids who only wanted them warm and fed and ended up in B and B accomodation but others needed help with managing their budgets and prioritising and cooking properly not eating crap.

    People don't believe me when I say £30 all in including household stuff and we eat really well with fruit and veg and salad and adequate protein from various sources.

    If I had the time I reckon by shopping at the variety of stores in my wee town I could save even more buying the best deals at each place ( Sainburys, lidl, Morrisons, Iceland and local grocers, butchers). They are all in walking distance even at a push. I know what I would be doing if I was on the dole and had nowt to do when the kids were at school or had a partner at home to look after them.

    Amazes me. My brother is a great example- has three large dogs that need feeding, smokes and has Sky TV. Nice work if you can get it.

    take care xxx

  10. I live well with a family of four on a lot less than that per week-they must be bloomin mad. This month i spent £120 and the cupboards are full-so will not need to go shopping until next week for top ups. I can and have done it on far less than that. Only they can get themselves out of it-reliance won't do it long term. I feel so sorry that this society is heading that way.

  11. Its terrible it really is. £90 per week for two adults and two small children is ridiculous. I fear that if they truly think you need that amount to feed a family then the mountain will seem to high to climb.

  12. I've been allowing £100 per month for the shopping needs of 3 adults since January - that's for food, toiletries, cleaning products, loo roll etc. It's hard work but it's a necessity as when KL leaves college next summer we will be living on 13k per year - half of the amount the government is aiming to cap benefits at - no wonder people don't want to look for a job. Hubby works for the NHS and his job is near the bottom of the pay scale, and that 'gold-plated pension' that he'll get after paying in for nearly 30 years will give him 6k per year if he's lucky or hasn't dropped dead doing a physical job until he's nearly 70 as this government wants. Changing to a plant based diet, and no longer eating any animal products has made sticking to the budget easier.I popped into Iceland to buy frozen veg a few weeks ago - the shop was heaving with people who had trolleys laden with pizzas, sausages ( 40 for £2 - I shudder to think what's in those), ready meals, pies, chicken nuggets, ice cream. There was only me and 1 other person looking at vegetables :( A lot of people these days really have no idea how to cook a meal from scratch, and I don't know what the answer is because there are generations of them.

  13. Our diet is plant-based too as we are long term vegans and I really have no clue how much meat costs as I have never bought it during my adult life. We tend to spend more on other things though such as ethical goods, cleaning stuff and toiletries etc which tend to be more expensive! Even so people seem to just want convenience these days even if they are not working and have plenty of time to shop, prepare and cook food!

  14. Just watched this on I-player so I knew what we were all talking about! Shocked! The people who only had one meal a day but their appearance belied this fact methinks! The lady who had five children and a husband who had "given up" work to study. They also still had a car which is something we can't afford! I am sorry but choosing to give up work when you have five children to support who are after all your responsibility is irresponsible at best! I felt sorry for those genuinely in need and am not saying that all the people on the show were not in need for one reason or another but for some of them it was a problem of their own making! What happened to people taking responsibility for themselves and their offspring?

  15. Sorry state. Its commenable to want to improve your lot by extra study but you need to way up the finances. I looked at it with only one child to support and felt it was too much of a risk though long term the retraining may have paid off. You have to investigate properly which is not straightforward with student loans child tax credit etc Good point about the one meal a day and physical appearance. And some could clearly feed their pets and afford hair dye.

    Am not sympathetic can you tell?


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