Workers on low pay seek Foodbank help

LOW wages are a growing cause of people seeking help from Bognor Regis Foodbank.

The number of people in work has been rising in the past year among the total of clients who benefit from its essential supplies.

Joint co-ordinator Sandie Bolton said: “We are seeing more people who are on low wages, have seasonal work, be part time or are on zero hours contracts.

“They are working but they can’t make ends meet. If something goes wrong, they can’t afford to cope.”

Some clients had also succeeded in getting a job but had to wait up to a month for their first wages.

“Their benefits have stopped but they’ve still got to wait perhaps three weeks before they get paid. Few people get their wages weekly now,” she said.

Those who have been jobless for a long time have still formed a significant number of the some 1,800 clients helped in the Foodbank’s first year in its current premises since last April.

The total is slightly down on the previous year because of a change of criteria for those eligible for the three days’ worth of food as the Foodbank has become more established.

Still, one in three of those had children to take the total number of youngsters who benefited from the tinned and packaged goods in the past year to 1,770.

Joint co-ordinator Sandie Bolton said the recipients had been given a total of nearly 20 tons of donated food. The constant stream of clients works out at nearly nine for each of the four days a week the Foodbank is open on the corner of West Street and Argyle Road.

The move was prompted because the social enterprise had outgrown its original shared premises with limited hours from May 2012 in Waterloo Square.

“Moving has been very good for us,” said Sandie. “With the number of clients a day we have, we can care about them and talk to them.

“We couldn’t do that when they were queuing at the door, as they were before.”

The food is donated by individuals, schools and churches as well as collections at supermarkets.

The service gets cash from bric-a-brac sales, the county council and donations from various agencies.