Urgent appeal as Great Yarmouth foodbank runs short

Yarmouth foodbank has had to ration the food it hands out because of an increased demand for its hel

Yarmouth foodbank has had to ration the food it hands out because of an increased demand for its help. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A foodbank has been so busy that it is having to ration what it gives out to people.

Volunteers at the Great Yarmouth foodbank are running out of food to give to people.

There has been an increase in the numbers since the new Universal Credit benefits system went live in the borough.

Trish Slade, from the foodbank, said: 'We have had people coming who have problems accessing the new online system because they aren't computer literate.'

Ms Slade, who lives in Gorleston, said: 'Now that we are having to support more people and for longer the funds we have won't go as far.'

She added that the food they have is having to be spread more thinly so everyone is fed.

New rules mean benefits are paid monthly instead of fortnightly, so if people make a mistake on their application form they could be waiting between six and eight weeks before receiving any money.

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The foodbank is currently helping more than 100 people and families, significantly more than three months ago when the benefit changes came into effect.

In May the borough's job centre, based in The Conge, was the first in the Central England region to launch the new full Universal Credit service.

The coalition government brought in the reforms in 2012 as ministers believed the old system was too complex and there were insufficient incentives to encourage people on benefits to start paid work or increase their hours.

However, critics including the Resolution Foundation have said Universal Credit could leave 2.5 million families worse off, some by more than £3,000 a year.

Now an urgent appeal has been set up to help make sure people get the food they need.

A collection is being held at the Co-op food store in Earlham Road, Norwich from 12-2pm today.

Food can also be donated to the three foodbank sites across the Yarmouth borough at the Salvation Army in Tolhouse Street, Yarmouth, St Mary Magdalene church in Magdalen Square, Gorleston and Gorleston Baptist Church in Lowestoft Road.