The Trussell Trust has awarded a 2-year grant to Cambridgeshire Foodbanks, funded by Asda as part of their Fight Hunger Create Change programme, to fund a full time Citizens Advice Adviser to support beneficiaries of local food banks.
The project started on 1st September 2020 and Citizens Advice Rural Cambs (CARC) are delighted to be working in partnership with the local food banks. The partnership will allow the food bank in Ely (which includes distribution in Soham, Chatteris and March), alongside food banks in Ramsey, St Neots and Godmanchester to directly refer individuals and families who need to use the food bank for additional advice and support to a specific adviser.
Sarah Heather and Kate Holland have been recruited by CARC as the Advisers to work directly with these food banks and they bring a wealth of experience in supporting clients with difficult and complex situations, including complicated benefit issues and debt.
“I’m delighted to be offered this new opportunity with CARC and I’m very much looking forward to working together with the food banks and in helping the people they support navigate their way through these challenging times.”
Our Project Manager, Helen Spriggs said:
“During the current pandemic we are seeing a different demographic of food bank beneficiaries and evidence suggests the demand on food banks will increase over the next few months, as we see the wider impact of Coronavirus on the finances of businesses and individuals.”
Many of the clients accessing CARC’s services are, or have been working but have seen reductions in salaries following furlough or lack of work through self-employment or zero hour contracts. Calls to the CARC Advice Line have seen an increase in queries on benefits, employment, in particular redundancies, managing bills and debt. The need for emergency food and energy support has also increased.
This project is an excellent example of partnership working, by addressing the root cause of the beneficiary’s crisis through the support and advice from the Citizens Advice service to help individuals and families break the cycle of poverty, thereby helping to reduce the reliance and subsequent pressure on emergency support schemes such as the food banks.