The Bridlington couple have five young children, and have been accessing a foodbank run by local charity The Hinge twice a month to help make ends meet. Jess has been involved with The Hinge since her eldest was born 14 years ago, and she and Neil continue to use it for food parcels and also to buy cut price goods in the community food shop.
“I never dreamed we’d be in the situation where we needed that sort of outside help to feed the family,” Jess said. “I used to think of food as a sort of basic right, but when Neil lost his job, we had zero money to live on and were grateful for any help we could get.”
Neil now has a job at a local potato factory, but it’s low wages and the couple are deeply worried about how they are going to pay for everything.
“I toss and turn at night worrying about the future,” Jess said. “Neil’s wage just covers our rent and most of the household bills, but not all of them, and if he increases his hours, we lose the little extra money in tax! Now everything is shooting up in price, I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”
“The staff don’t judge”
Jess first heard about The Hinge from a playgroup staff member. She’d just come out of a broken relationship, moved into a new flat with her two week old son, and had no money: “The saints at The Hinge were totally amazing, and helped me so much in getting through that awful time,” Jess said. “The staff are all so friendly and they don’t judge – if it wasn’t for them we’d be out on the street begging for help.”
The Hinge Centre is based in the heart of the Havenfield estate in Bridlington, and offers benefit and welfare support, a job club, after school clubs, holiday clubs, art for health, independent living, community support and resettlement support. Their community food store is supported by FareShare, and opens every week.
Megan Robinson, Deputy Manager of The Hinge, reports a huge increase in the number of people coming to their door: “Right across our community – young, old, families and singles – everyone is really having to make hard choices like “heat or eat”, and we regularly hear about parents going without so they can feed their children.
“Food poverty is a reality for thousands of people – and it’s not hidden any more, it’s real and it’s truly frightening for everyone.”
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