Dramatic increase in struggling Dartford residents turning to food banks

Dramatic increase in struggling Dartford residents turning to food banks

Hub manager at Gravesham food bank, Claire Noordally

First published in News by

A sudden increase in the number of struggling Dartford residents using foodbanks is being blamed on bedroom tax and benefit changes.

The Haven Family Storehouse, launched by Gateway Vineyard Dartford with the support of Dartford Churches, has seen an increase of nearly 40 people using the foodbank since this time last year.

Last month, a total of 438 residents benefitted from the Storehouse which opens on Tuesdays 10am to noon and Thursdays from 3pm to 5pm at the Gateway Vineyard in Market Street. 

Meanwhile, a similar foodbank in Northfleet run by international charity, The Trussell Trust, has seen a tenfold increase in visitors since launching in 2012.

News Shopper:

Staff at this centre - based at RCCG Lifestart Connections in St Clements Close - believe the dramatic rise is partly due to the government's introduction of bedroom tax in April last year.

Project manager David Idowu said: "We were established in autumn 2012.

"Back then we would have about 10 people a week come in for help. Now we can have up to 100 people.

"The increase in figures is mainly a result of benefits delays and changes.

"People find they now have to pay bedroom tax which is a cost they can’t afford as well as feeding themselves."

Hub manager Claire Noordally added: "From April 2013 to March 2014 we helped up to 3,000 people.

News Shopper:

"This is quite a large increase on the previous year when we fed 650 people. We’ve become well known in the community so the increase in figures doesn’t come as a surprise."

"Clients are referred to us by the social services, The Red Cross, the NHS and a couple more establishments.

"We give the food out in good faith that the reputable referee has done the investigating they needed to do to make a good judgement about whether a client needs help."

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: "It seems a real pity that some now use foodbanks as a political football when in my experience they are provided by kind hearted individuals with no other motive than to help people."

Comments (5)

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10:26am Tue 29 Apr 14

capricorn1101 says...

Im sorry but I think it is wrong that bedroom tax is being blamed for this increase! For years people have complained that there are limited family housing available on the council, the bedroom tax was implemented to free up more housing and now there are complaints again! if you can't afford to pay for the spare room then downsize and give another family a chance to live in a less crowded home. The real reason to why more people are needing to rely on food banks is because of the increasing cost to live! Energy bills, council tax, rent and supermarket shopping are all on the increase where as wages are not... but of course the article would not be interesting enough if that was printed!
Im sorry but I think it is wrong that bedroom tax is being blamed for this increase! For years people have complained that there are limited family housing available on the council, the bedroom tax was implemented to free up more housing and now there are complaints again! if you can't afford to pay for the spare room then downsize and give another family a chance to live in a less crowded home. The real reason to why more people are needing to rely on food banks is because of the increasing cost to live! Energy bills, council tax, rent and supermarket shopping are all on the increase where as wages are not... but of course the article would not be interesting enough if that was printed! capricorn1101
  • Score: 3

10:49am Tue 29 Apr 14

concerned.erith says...

I completely agree. Everything is going up except wages. If you can't afford a spare room either take in a lodger or downsize and give the extra room to the people who need it.
I completely agree. Everything is going up except wages. If you can't afford a spare room either take in a lodger or downsize and give the extra room to the people who need it. concerned.erith
  • Score: 3

11:16am Tue 29 Apr 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Although this is well intentioned doesn't it just encourage people to just suck on the teat of handouts and benefits.
Fair enough if you are working and need a hand up but all these ventures encourage lots of the work shy to live their lazy life style.
Although this is well intentioned doesn't it just encourage people to just suck on the teat of handouts and benefits. Fair enough if you are working and need a hand up but all these ventures encourage lots of the work shy to live their lazy life style. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 10

12:27pm Tue 29 Apr 14

PaulErith says...

Agree with previous comments. People moan about those on benefits living in big house and getting payouts - rightly so in my opinion. When the government actually does something about it, i.e. bedroom tax, people complain. Why should one person have a two bedroom house? If they're paying for it then, fine, but don't expect to get it for free. Downsize or pay up and if they don't want to do either of those things, they've no right to complain.
Agree with previous comments. People moan about those on benefits living in big house and getting payouts - rightly so in my opinion. When the government actually does something about it, i.e. bedroom tax, people complain. Why should one person have a two bedroom house? If they're paying for it then, fine, but don't expect to get it for free. Downsize or pay up and if they don't want to do either of those things, they've no right to complain. PaulErith
  • Score: 4

4:49pm Tue 29 Apr 14

austinpowers says...

Or a reluctance to give up the cigs... 400 quid a month is a food budget
Or a reluctance to give up the cigs... 400 quid a month is a food budget austinpowers
  • Score: 0

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