A number of local charities and organisations are warning that foodbank usage in the North West could “spiral out of control” as it’s revealed that the region tops the list for demand.
The stark warnings come as the number of families with children needing support from foodbanks continues to rise across the North West – with the region claiming four of the areas with the highest number of children living in poverty – and after statistics released by leading foodbank charity The Trussell Trust revealed that it gave out more food parcels within the region than anywhere else in the UK in 2020.
The warnings also come as predictions claim that more than five million children will be living in deprivation by the end of 2021.
On top of that, according to a report by the Food Foundation, 2.3 million children live in households that have experienced food insecurity in the past sixth months, and 4.7 million adults across the UK now experience food insecurity, which is higher than the levels before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit.
As of March 2021, there are currently 105 foodbanks active across the North West.
This latter figure does not however include food parcels that are provided by schools, local authorities or other independent providers, which is why more and more Greater Manchester charities and initiatives say they are having to step in to help families in need and are now calling on the government to introduce a National Poverty Strategy to provide support before the situation “spirals out of control”.
“We need to see increases in Child Benefit and other payments that are targeted at children in families so that all children in this country can live a life that is free from poverty.”
Manzoor Ali – who founded the Chorlton-based foodbank provider Barakah Food Aid over 11 years ago – told ITV Granada of how he has heard tragic stories of young children in the Greater Manchester area having to lick sugar from kitchen tops to stave off hunger.
He said: “I could go on for ages, but one that springs to mind is delivering a food parcel and you check in with the kids sometimes ask how are you doing? Is everything ok? And she responded by saying I am really grateful that you came because she saw her younger brother licking sugar off the kitchen tops, it’s stuff like that, I can’t even explain.
“These people in power make out like they care about the country right now the way I look at it, they care more about money than the people.”
Mr Ali’s latter comments particularly hit home when it’s referenced that all the way back in 2001, the then-Labour Government pledged to eradicate child poverty by 2020, but now 20 years later, several charities in the region say things are much worse than they were when the pledge was made.
In response to the rising numbers of families relying on foodbanks across the region and throughout the UK, the government says it has targeted its support to families “most in need” by raising the living wage and boosting welfare support.
It added £23 million has been allocated to North West councils through the COVID Winter Grant Scheme to help pay for food and essential bills.
A government spokesperson said: “We are committed to making sure every child gets the best start in life.
“This is central to our steadfast determination to level up opportunity across the country. That’s why we’ve targeted our support to families most in need by raising the living wage and we have boosted welfare support by billions.
“Additionally, we have launched the COVID Winter Grant Scheme to help children and families stay warm and well fed during the coldest months and £23 million has already been allocated to councils throughout the North West to help pay for food and essential bills.”
You can find a list of active foodbanks in the region currently accepting and offering support – as in January 2017 by Greater Manchester Poverty Action (GMPA) – via the Greater Together Manchester website here.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic GMPA encourages those in need of support to contact food providers direct.
This is regarded as the best way to find out more about the services they are currently offering.
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.
Andy Burnham wants to help more girls get into football
Andy Burnham has urged schools to do more to encourage young girls to get into football.
The Greater Manchester Mayor was speaking to Sky News‘ Kay Burley on Thursday, 8 December as he discussed the importance of promoting more women in football and sport, in general.
Burnham said that himself, the FA and notable women’s football advocates like former keeper Karen Bardsley are “determined” to make sure the buzz following the Women’s Euros isn’t just a flash in the pan.
With the England men’s team currently trying to replicate the Lionesses‘ success as they prepare for the quarter-final of the 2022 World Cup, he went on to emphasise the lasting memories football can create on a global scale.
The Mayor went on to say that with the help of schools across the UK, they hope to “make sure that the success the Lionesses had in the summer becomes a permanent legacy”, imploring schools, the sporting community and the nation at large “not let those summer memories fade”.
Insisting that he already feels the heroics of Euro 2022 have already had an impact when it comes to inspiring more girls to get into football.
He said that the uptake among “women in football” since the tournament has been “amazing” but warned educators and parents not to “leave it to chance” and provide the support to make “real change”.