I’ve finally got round to watching the award winning film ‘I Daniel Blake’ and I applaud the candid and honest way the film presents the system and the people subject to it. The Universal Credit roll out in our area is increasing the pressure on our service as the application process takes around 6 weeks and has to be made on-line. In the film Daniel wrestles with the computer and whilst it is portrayed in a humorous way the sad reality is there for all to see. When a persons only experience of a mouse is of a small furry animal that is considered vermin then you can begin to see how some fall at the first hurdle and seek out services like ours. In February this year the Guardian reported that one in four families in the UK have less than £95 in savings, it’s clear to see then how a 6 week process will cause difficulties for these families and within a very short time those without other support from friends and family will have to turn to charities like the Black Country Foodbank.
The benefit payment now includes payment of rent, unless a claimant specifically states they want direct payment to continue, that under the old system got paid directly to the landlord. This is the case whether the landlord is the council or private landlord. The Department for Work and Pensions don’t promote the direct payment route and the problem with landlords, including the council, is they aren’t keen to wait for payment and after 4 weeks, the council included, issue a notice to seek possession. This is a precursor to an eviction notice and is sure to increase the stress an individual experiences, especially, if they haven’t been in arrears previously. Visits to the Foodbank across the area has seen an increase in the last month or so as has the number of people we see with Mental Health issues as the pressure mounts.
Thanks to all who have donated to the Foodbank during Harvest time.
Your support means so much to those in crisis. If you haven’t given but would like to here’s the list of items that the Foodbank are short of currently. You can drop items off with us or to the Storehouse in Albion Street.
Congratulations to all the hard working volunteers in the Recovery Cafe, this week the rating came through from Dudley Council Environmental Health and here it is in the window of the cafe for all to see! Fantastic news guys, we are so proud of you! This week there were 31 visitors to the cafe and all received a warm welcome, conversation and refreshment.
We have signed up again this year for the Advent Sleepout Challenge. Our event will take place on Friday 1st December so if you are interested in taking part please get in touch. There’s plenty of time to let us know and all of the sponsorship goes to the Church Urban Fund which works to provide night shelters across the country. Last year they provided support, food, shelter and 4000 bed spaces for homeless people. Further information can be found on their website https://www.sleepoutchallenge.org.uk/ or you can watch the video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=25&v=gWZpesBEU1M
If you want to sponsor our event you can go to our fundraising page at https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/brierley-hill-project-sleepout