Make a donation to Neath Foodbank this Christmas

Peter with volunteers from Neath Foodbank

Neath MP Peter Hain has urged people to make donations to Neath Foodbank this festive period to help those struggling to make ends meet. On a recent visit to drop off his own donation Mr Hain spoke with volunteers and heard how growing numbers of those in work were turning to the Foodbank as their pay was not stretching.Praising the volunteers Mr Hain said, ‘Their commitment and dedication to helping others is unbounded. The hard work and organisation that the volunteers put in, not just in the distribution of the food parcels but also in the cataloging and arranging the donations that they receive is tremendous.’

‘Whilst it is a sad reflection of the current times and the difficulties facing ordinary people, the caring spirit of the volunteers and the wider community through their donations, speaks volumes of the compassionate community spirit alive and well in Neath.’

Make a donation to Ystalyfera foodbank to help those in our communities urges Hain

On a visit to CATCH (Cwmtawe Action To Combat Hardship), a foodbank based in Ystalyfera, Neath MP Peter Hain has urged communities to keep the donations coming over the Christmas and New Year period.

Mr Hain dropped off his own donation to CATCH and praised volunteers who established and now run the organisation. The Neath MP was told that CATCH had helped hundreds since its first food pack was issued on 4th June 2013.

‘The volunteers are doing a fantastic job helping some of the most vulnerable in the Swansea valley area. I was very impressed by the hard work, diligence and attentiveness of the volunteers to ensure households in need receive the help they require.’

They help people in many different circumstances, from families and couples to single parents and individuals, working with a network of professionals like the Red Cross and Communities First who can refer people to CATCH. Individuals can also make self referrals and CATCH will assess the circumstances and help where they can.

CATCH is open for referrals and donations Wednesday and Friday 11am to 2pm and is based in St David’s Church Hall, Ystalyfera.

Speaking with volunteers Mr Hain was told that the three most common reasons for referral were households managing on a limited income receiving an a sudden extra expense that they haven’t budgeted for; flow of income interrupted either through job loss or a change or delay in benefit; and a change of circumstance such as bereavement, relationship break-down or loss of accommodation.

Concluding Mr Hain said, ‘It is a sad indictment of the times we live in where people are forced to turn to Foodbanks like this in the Swansea Valley or the Neath Foodbank. But it speaks volumes of the caring spirit in our communities which is movingly impressive.’

Hain Urges Those In Need To Take Advantage Of Discretionary Assistance Fund

Neath MP Peter Hain has urged those in need to take advantage of the Discretionary Assistance Fund to provide assistance in an emergency. The scheme, established by the Welsh Government, was set up after the abolition of the Social Fund Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans as part of the UK Government’s Welfare changes.

Raising awareness of the fund Mr Hain said, “The decision to abolish this vital economic resource that people turn to in desperation tells you all you need to know about this Government. But with ever increasing demands on people’s budgets and a growing reliance on Foodbanks, the Discretionary Assistance Fund helps people to meet the costs of an emergency or a disaster like replacing a fridge, or cooker or clothes for children or it enables independent living or continued independent living.

“Many people are aware that the crisis loans have disappeared but people are not aware that this assistance is available. In desperation they are turning to payday lenders or going without food to meet the cost of a replacement washing machine or bed or new school uniform for their children. But help is available to people who have no other means of meeting the immediate cost of living.”

Payments are split into two purposes and are intended to meet one-off needs rather than on-going expenses. The Emergency Assistance Payment provides assistance in an emergency or when there is an immediate threat to health or wellbeing while the Individual Assistance Payment enables independent living or continued independent living, preventing the need for institutional care.

Applications for the fund can be made by calling the freephone number – 0800 859 5924 which is free from landlines or 033 0101 5000 which is charged at a local rate’. Alternatively you can submit a postal application to: Discretionary Assistance Fund, PO Box 2377, WREXHAM, LL11 0LG or online by visiting https://www.northgate-nes.co.uk/pls/pwswall/f?p=NSFPWEC:HOME:2493097282490101::NO:APP:APP_LA_CODE,APP_TEXT_LANGUAGE:WALES,ENG&cs=354DDA10CECECDA83006CF401761B281C

For more information on the fund visit http://www.moneymadeclearwales.org/discretionary-assistance-fund-for-wales

 

MP supports Charity’s Call for Investigation into Food Poverty

MP for Neath Peter Hain has joined the Trussell Trust in calling on the Prime Minister to launch an official enquiry into food poverty, following the news that food bank use across the UK has tripled within a year.

There are two food banks currently operating in the Neath constituency, one in Neath town and one in Ystalyfera. Both food banks are accessed regularly by local people who have fallen on hard times.

According to Mr Hain, ‘Average household incomes in Neath are low whilst the cost of living, particularly food and fuel prices, continue to rise. The Government meanwhile insists on hitting hard-working people with economic policies such as the Bedroom Tax, pushing even more families into poverty.’

Neath Food Bank can be found at the Orchard Place Baptist Church opposite Victoria Bus Station in Neath and is open Tuesdays and Fridays 2pm-4.00pm. The food bank in Ystalyfera, ran independently by the local charity CATCH (Cwmtawe Action to Combat Hardship), operates out of St David’s Church Hall and is open Wednesdays and Fridays 11am-2pm.

Mr Hain has praised the work of the volunteers who run both food banks, describing them as ‘a crutch for our communities’ who offer support to those who have been left with nowhere else to turn.

Concluding, Mr Hain said, ‘As we approach the winter months, I remain deeply concerned about the most vulnerable in our communities who will be forced to choose between putting food on the table or heating their homes this Christmastime.’

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Hain Criticises Cuts to Local Community Safety Fund

MP for Neath Peter Hain has spoken out against the Government’s ‘severe’ cuts to the Community Safety Fund for 2013-14.

Figures release this week by the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, Rt. Hon. Alun Michael,  reveal that the Home Office has replaced a number of separate funding schemes amounting to £4.7 million with a single fund of just under £3.5 million to spend according to his priorities in the Police and Crime Reduction Plan.

Mr Hain says, ‘This is yet another example of how disastrous Government cuts are affecting the most vulnerable and at risk in our communities. for the Neath Port Talbot Youth Offending Team alone, this means a funding cut of £8,462.’

Continuing, Mr Hain says, ‘There are now 20,000 children and young people in Neath classed as being in poverty, which is living in a household that earns less than 60% of the average national income. Opportunities for many of these young individuals already feel few and far between.

‘The Neath Port Talbot Youth Offending Team offers support and encouragement to young people who need to turn their lives around. Cutting funding to these vital services simply means that another door is shut in their faces.’