City’s deprived hotspots to shift in wake of virus crisis, councillors warn
PUBLISHED: 19:09 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:29 15 May 2020
Norwich’s most deprived areas are set to shift in the wake of the pandemic as those who “just about manage” slip into poverty, city councillors have warned.
Labour councillors Karen Davis and Emma Corlett have warned that the city’s deprivation index could see a marked change in the coming months as the economic effects of Covid-19 take hold.
Families living just above the poverty line face losing work and weeks-long waits for the benefits system to kick in, they have said.
And the councillors, who have been volunteering daily with the NR2 food bank, say they hope the crisis will mark a shift in attitude.
Emma Corlett said: “People are really falling through the gaps.
“There’s a lot of cash economy, low-paid work with unscrupulous employers telling people they’re self-employed when they’re not.
“People aren’t applying for a UC advance because they’re terrified of getting into debt. I do hope it will raise people’s awareness and compassion and understanding of those who are in this situation.”
And Karen Davis added: “What has been interesting is that people who have never been unemployed before, they’re shocked at having to wait for weeks for a payment.”
She said the city’s deprivation hotspots would have a higher proportion of residents receiving housing support , who would be likely to weather the storm better than those in insecure, expensive private rental accommodation.
“It’s the just about managing people at risk,” she added.
The food bank, a partnership between Adat Yeshua Synagogue and the NR2 Community Skill Share group, has been supporting families waiting for Universal Credit (UC) payments, furloughed workers struggling to afford rent, and self-employed people and freelancers waiting for support, as well as supplementing food boxes to the clinically vulnerable.
The foodbank was given a £1,000 grant by the Norfolk Community Foundation, and food and money has been donated by residents.
“We’re most likely to run out of corned beef and tuna - protein is expensive,” Ms Davis added.
The Town Close councillor has also produced recipes for healthy meals with the box contents, for people without a hob or oven.
To request an emergency food box, email NR2foodbank@gmail.com for a home delivery.
And to donate, bank transfer to TSB account: NR2 Community; sort code: 77-66-38; account number: 23688460; and reference: last name, first initial, foodbank.