(ABOVE: Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps visits The Fountain of Life's food bank)
A food bank in Welwyn Garden City says 80 per cent of its footfall is a result of benefit changes...
The Fountain of Life Church opens its food stores on Mondays and Fridays to voucher-holders who've been referred by government or community organisations, like the Citizens Advice Bureau.
At a visit to the food bank
at 15 Howardsgate, Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps defended the government's reform programme. He told JACK fm: "I actually want to see people who are genuinely in need and cannot work receive those benefits and support.
"What we don't want to see, and I think people are fed up of seeing, is people who frankly could be working but think it's actually better not to, or would prefer to work but can't get out of the trap of benefits.
The food bank operates a voucher system which runs in co-operation with local groups, organisations and government officials.
People in need are issued with vouchers from, for example the Citizens Advice Burea, according to their individual needs. They're then handed over to the Food Bank staff who package food for that person to cater for their needs.
(BELOW: Food Bank Co-ordinator Yemi Adeyemo says the food bank even helped during the RBS/NatWest systems crash)
But it's not just food that's given out at The Fountain of Life. Food Bank Manager Kunle Adetola told JACK fm: "It's not just about food because sometimes when people come in here with vouchers, during the process of talking to them we realise there's other challeges for them, including late benefit payments or they're having housing issues, so we also recommend to them where else they can go to get help with that; who the best people to speak to about it are."
Food Bank PR Manager Kofu Adetola added: "We link with every member of the community. We also have police partnering with us. There are people that have just come out of prison and there's a chance to reoffend if you don't have food to eat.
"So the food bank is having an impact of reducing crime in the community."
BELOW: Click on the player to hear Michael's visit to the food bank and JACK fm's Bryan Rutherford learn more about the local service...
How to contact the food bank:
Address: Welwyn Hatfield Foodbank
Welwyn Garden City
General enquiries telephone: 01707 377 443
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