I am chair of Bemerton Heath Residents Association. With my disabilities, I had to give up work five years ago. So I turned my attention to becoming a voluntary support worker for the wider community.
Covid was hard, but so are the circumstances people find themselves in today. Families, whether single parents or couples, working or on benefits, are all struggling to pay their bills and pay for
When I championed The Community Fridge at St. Michaels, Bemerton Heath, it was to help with food waste. Companies were throwing billions of pounds worth of food away. We received food from major supermarkets and from smaller shops.
Coming out of the Covid lockdown period, it had become an essential life line. Unfortunately, rules changed and we started to struggle to have enough food to cope with demand. The volunteers and Rvd Kevin Martin have been wonderful and are passionate in doing what they need to. Food banks are also dealing with an increasing number of families as is our pantry in the city centre.
The pantry came about through an initiative from Salisbury City Council which has seen a rise in residents using these facilities. The pantry’s officers and dedicated volunteers collect food to redistribute to those in need.
Recent events in parliament and with the budget will make things harder. Inflation is up, while wages and benefits are not tallying keeping pace. The rich are getting richer, and there is such a divide. We should not have families living on the breadline in this day and age. We should not have to rely on voluntary provisions like food banks and the pantry.
We vote for a government to govern, not play games with decisions that will affect every single one of us. If you are struggling, help is out there, please don’t suffer in silence. Look out for neighbours, friends and families as we all need to pull together to get through this.