Thursday 30 May 2013

Food Bank London .How to set up a Food Bank/ raise Donations

Whilst i hope this information is of use to help others looking to help fellow residents in need, i must make it clear that we totally oppose the welfare reforms that are seeing the poor and low paid left with no choice but to seek food aid, having seen working people going in and out of bins looking for food due to a financial crises is wrong in the 5th richest country in the world, but allowing people to starve just to make a political point in my view is also clearly wrong.
So how do you run a Food Bank?
First thing  is to get a name, we call our food Bank We Care and it offers food aid to elderly , families running out of cash due to huge bills, people starting work and having to wait 4 weeks for first pay cheque and huge numbers of people being reviewed by the state during which time mainly disabled people find there entire income is stopped at a stroke, others are low paid and even local small traders not on welfare, but due to cash flow have no food to put on the table, almost all find asking for food shaming and almost all will not tell any other family member they are getting food aid.
Most Food banks struggle for food donations, We have the backing and sponsorship of Housemartins estate agents in London who pay our running costs and buy food when we run out.
 Do not expect the public to give you all the food you need many will give 1 of donations and church groups will give once or twice a year, so you need to secure proper donations, a stall outside main supermarket is a great way to secure food, supermarkets may object to local food banks, so shame them by erecting  a stall on the street close to store for people to donate.
Set up a Charity or you will find you must pay business rates, we are happy to help you set up a We Care food Bank in your area as part of We Care you would also get PR and help with food and training.
We do not offer vouchers as we think these are demeaning and we do not feed the homeless as already huge numbers of groups feed this sector, we offer the only UK pet food bank to keep familie units together in crises pets are first to go, in our area we have saved huge numbers from being dumped, strangely the pet food bank gets more donations than the peoples food bank.
Our clients can come once a week for as long as they need a third only come once in a crises, asking for food is not easy task and most people take up to 2 weeks from making contact to arriving at what we call the peoples supermarket, all clients that can,  pay £1 for 10 items plus 1 extra item which could be soap, toothpaste, loo rolls sanitry towels etc.
We only give out fresh and tinned food, so ten items could be; cornflakes, milk, bread, rice or pasta, meat or fish, fresh fruit, fresh veg, tea or coffee, soup, beans, veg options noodles sauces.
We give each client a basket so they chose the 10 items they need and will eat insuring no food is wasted something that the big food banks fail at, we also treat all our clients as friends so they feel at ease when they arrive, we offer free advice on huge range of issues and childrens cloths exchange, Our present huge site is set for development so we are unsure how long we can stay, when we need to raise funds to buy our own building as this need is not going to go away.
We have started a Charity shop in half  the Food Bank with Furniture and items donated covering our rent and rates and making this  project sustainable.
Staffing, Thanks to Housemartins we have 2 paid workers and army of kind people who do huge number of things out of good will, many are former food bank clients grateful and wanting give back, but you need regular teams so clients feel safe and confident that there plight is not the areas gossip.
Local press is key in securing constant publicity, we have been very lucky with our local press, South London Press and the Mercury giving us constant coverage.
We Care is a Charity it was set up by Ray Woolford and Barbara Raymond who are key community activists in Lewisham People Before Profit,  

You can follow Ray on twitter@Ray Woolford

We Care Food Banks,   bank with Lewisham Co Op;
 Sort 08 92 99
Account number 65659328
Every Penny goes direct to helping people in need 

You may find my other postings on Food Banks on this blog of interest, worth reading who is running these Food  banks, which is why we state our political leanings.
If we can help or you wish to visit, please email.

Food Bank Story in Independent. Can you help? Make a donation?

500,000 people are  using food banks to stave off hunger and destitution, the Government has been warned.

Major charities signalled their alarm over a dramatic rise in the nation's "hidden hungry" – families who are forced to ask for help to feed themselves – because of wage cuts, the squeeze on benefits and the continuing economic downturn. The numbers have trebled in the past year alone and are likely to continue rising rapidly despite Britain's status as one of the world's wealthiest nations, according to a joint report by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty.
They say cuts to welfare payments – including below-inflation rises in benefits, new Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions and reassessment of entitlement to invalidity benefits – are the biggest cause of the surge in demand for food banks in all parts of the country. The charities are also fiercely critical of the numbers of mistakes and delays in benefits payments, which leave claimants without cash through no fault of their own and lead to "food uncertainty" among Britain's poorest families.
The hunger crisis has been exacerbated by the falling living standards of many people in employment, who have seen their wages trimmed or their working hours cut. Rising food and fuel prices are also driving families into poverty, the charities add.
The cost of basic foodstuffs has leapt by 35 per cent and the cost of heating a home has jumped by 63 per cent in the past five years – a period in which many incomes have risen only marginally or not at all.
Mark Goldring, the chief executive of Oxfam, said last night: "The shocking reality is that hundreds of thousands of of people in the UK are turning to food aid. Cuts to social safety-nets have gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale. It is unacceptable this is happening in the seventh wealthiest nation on the planet."
The Trussell Trust, the biggest organiser of food banks in Britain, said almost 350,000 people received at least three days' emergency food last year, compared with about 130,000 in 2011-12. But because there is an array of organisations distributing food, the new report conservatively estimates that well over 500,000 people are now relying on charity handouts.
Niall Cooper, the chief executive of Church Action on Poverty, said: "The safety net that was there to protect people is being eroded to such an extent that we are seeing a rise in hunger. Food banks are not designed to, and should not, replace the 'normal' safety net provided by the state in the form of welfare support."
The Government has sent out mixed messages over the steep rise in food bank use. While Downing Street sources had previously said welfare payments were set at a level "where people can afford to eat", David Cameron has acknowledged the work of food-bank volunteers as "part of the big society".
The Prime Minister visited the independent Oxfordshire West Food Bank in his Witney constituency in February, but did so without inviting photographers or journalists, and has so far failed to take up the Trussell Trust's invitation to visit one of its more established centres. The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has joined a Food Aware appeal for food donations, visited the Witney food bank and raised the issue at Prime Minister's Questions.
Earlier this month, Tim Lang, a former adviser to the World Health Organisation and one of Britain's leading food policy experts, told The Independent that he feared food banks were becoming "institutionalised" and taking Britain back to a "Dickensian" model of welfare. The Trussell Trust launched a nationwide network of food distribution centres in 2004. It feeds people referred to it by social services and other professionals such as school liaison officers, doctors or Job Centre Plus staff. It now runs 350 food banks in all areas of Britain, manned by an estimated 30,000 volunteers, with an average of three new centres opening each week.
Its chief executive, Chris Mould, said yesterday: "We are seeing massive growth in the numbers of people being referred to us. Low income is a serious problem across the UK, with people facing acute challenges in trying to survive. Increases in basic prices of food and heating your home have a really big impact on people's ability to cope."
Today's report calls for an urgent parliamentary inquiry into the relationship between benefit payment delays, errors or sanctions, welfare reforms and the growth in the numbers of "hidden hungry".
It is also damning about ministers' failure properly to monitor the problem, and calls for agencies to record and monitor people experiencing food poverty in order to establish more accurate numbers.
Imran Hussain, the head of policy for the Child Poverty Action Group, said: "It is a national scandal that half a million British people are now having to turn to food aid. It is a problem that has quickly escalated and shows that something has gone badly wrong with the safety net that is supposed to help families in need."
Case studies: Living on the breadline
Brian Ahern
Retired postman, 57, from Stockwell, South London
I worked for my last company for two decades but had a nervous breakdown. I received a good pension of £95 a week, which meant I wasn't entitled to any benefits. Unfortunately, I had a problem with alcohol and this swallowed up all my money for a period of time. I first went to the Brixton food bank in May 2012. I'd got myself into a bit of a mess and it was the last resort for me: I literally didn't have a can of beans in the cupboard. I saw a sign in a shop window and was referred by Ace of Clubs, a soup kitchen and social centre in Clapham North. They do lunch for a quid – with dessert! I went three times, which was the most I was allowed with the vouchers I was given. They are very well stocked but I was surprised by how hard it was to have vouchers issued. They have helped me a few times and, now that I am over my crisis, I volunteer there. They are a great organisation and all the staff are very dedicated to what they do. People shouldn't feel shame in using them when they need to, but unfortunately there is stigma attached."
Karen Woods
Unemployed mother of one, 47, from south London
My daughter starts school in September. I went to a food bank because I couldn't afford to put food on the table for her. I receive Jobseekers' Allowance, child tax credit and child benefit but it is all swallowed by gas and electric bills, and by a loan I took out three years ago to pay for Christmas. Extra things need paying for – a missed bill, new shoes for my daughter – and then you can't afford food. I saw the food bank advertised and went in to ask how it could be used. I was then referred by a community centre. I had to provide proof of income. I didn't want to have to depend on charity – but it's either that or nothing."
Jane McBlane
Retired civil servant, 57, from West Croydon
I was at the Ministry of Defence for 20 years. I'm now unemployed but not old enough for a pension. When the council changed benefit payments on 1 April, I had no money for food. I complained to the council and they suggested a food bank. I have no family and don't want my friends to know about my situation, so had no where else to turn,

We Care Food Bank feeds people in real need in South East London, Greenwich, Southwark and Lewisham.
 We also offer advice and support and debt help as well as Childrens cloths exchange and the Countrys only Food Bank for pets.

We are looking to buy a Building to develop our work and insure all the money raised goes to people in need, At present we have top pay Rent and Rates.
We Care Food Banks ,  bank with the Co Op;
Sort Code 08 92 99 
Account Number 65659328.

Please if you can make a regular monthly donation.

We welcome visitors to our Food Bank, which we call The Peoples Supermarket, open to every reswident in need, Most are Low paid or Elderly, thanks to the Pet Food Bank, we have insured Dozens of pets have not been dumped.

You can Follow ray on Twitter; @Raywoolford

Wednesday 29 May 2013

BNP March on Lewisham May 2013/ Plans for Action in Lewisham agreed

If ever there was a march intended to incite inter-community hatred, this is it. Labour Lewisham must join me and others in calling on Goverment to ban this march, it has nothing to do with free speech, but everything to do with gaining votes for the far right and leading to fear and hate towards our Muslim neighbours, most of which have nothing to do with this.
Goverment plans for snoopers charter must also be clearly opposed.
We must allow people to oppose war in all its forms and to put a stop to establishment wars being carried out in our name.
Saturday,  We will be heading to Woolwich and a small number of people will he on hand at Lewisham Islamic centre to insure its safety, people are on stand by to come at short notice should Martin from the NUT text and tweet us.the BNP do not speak in our name,a second rally will NOT therefore   be held in Lewisham   in opposition to this march of hate and that the we Lewisham residents share the tragidy of a lost life but also do not want to see innocent people used and abused in our neighbourhoods .

People Before Profit will be discussing this and what further acts of opposition can be done in Lewisham at next mondays group meeting.

You can keep up to date with this by following me on twitter; @Raywoolford

In the cold light of dawn ... BNP have climbed down and they will have their sordid little demo in Whitehall. A communication from Lewisham Mosque says that in view of this the Mosque would like to thank everyone who came to support them on Wednesday and they have cancelled the counter-demo.
So everyone, go about your normal business on Saturday. The Anti-Fascists are still going ahead with demo in Woolwich however but will be focussed on death of Lee Rigby with a solemn march past of death site. If that floats your boat, go.

See Latest response from Lewisham Mayor after my Calls for march to be banned.

Dear Ray Woolford,

Steve is extremely concerned about the implications of this proposed march and has made these concerns known to the Metropolitan Police. It is his view that the march should not be permitted to go ahead and that the Home Secretary should be asked to use her powers to prevent it. Please be assured that Steve continues to press for this during the day and that we are also working with our colleagues in Greenwich to achieve this.

I trust that this is helpful.

Andy Williams
Office of Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham


Friday 17 May 2013

Housing crisis support Lambeth United in fight to stop Labour Lambeth Council selling of our homes and evicting tenants.

‘Shortlife’ evictions briefing 07/05/13

Lambeth’s Litany of Failure on ‘Shortlife’

Recently Stoke Council’s social housing initiative of selling off rundown homes for a £1, and issuing grants to repair them, was in the news – and deservedly so.

It’s a different story in Lambeth though…

Here the council is evicting people who have maintained (through their own funds) housing that the borough abandoned for 40 years.

Many of these properties are listed buildings, but the council ignored their statutory duty of care as owners.  Repairs and maintenance have been undertaken by registered housing co-ops, and not by the council.

Now councillors – some of whom have been alive for less time than these housing co-ops have existed – are selling off these houses at auction.

This means that social housing units are being lost and people are being pushed on to an already over-subscribed waiting list.

As if this wasn’t bad enough the way that Lambeth and their legal attack dogs, Devonshires, have behaved is worthy of contempt…

·         The council promised to consult the residents of these homes about their future use – this never happened.

·         Decisions about ‘shortlife’ housing co-ops, affecting some of the boroughs longest-serving residents, took place behind closed doors.

·         An attempt to question the policy with a ‘Councillor Call for Action’ has been buried under mysterious circumstances.

·         Despite promising that “Labour councillors will continue to fight for your right to stay in your home” these councillors now duck responding to questions, too afraid to go against their party whip or up against officers who keep them in the dark.

·         Councillors who have previously said that our communities “have given a permanence and continuity to the area” have now turned their back on their constituents and voted for evictions.

·         Meanwhile the officers decline to answer key questions.

·         The council say that they can’t keep ‘shortlifers’ in their homes (despite precedents for this) because of legal reasons, and yet when we ask them what these legal reasons are their response is that they can’t tell us for legal reasons!

Eat your heart out Kafka. This is Lambeth.

Despite having an abysmal record on collecting council tax (failing to collect nearly £50m), Lambeth, currently sitting on healthy reserves and planning to spend £30m on new council offices, seem to think it is ok to budget on the basis of removing people from their homes, some of whom have lived in them since as far back as 1974, and who are now of a pensionable age.

These ‘shortlife’ homes are houses that the council CPO’d for demolition in the 1970s/80 and in the words of their own councillors: “We have reminded colleagues and officers that some of these homes would not be standing if it was not for the work of the people living in them.”

It’s a pity that most of the councillors who said this have since turned their back on us and have sat on their hands as these houses get sold off and communities break down.

Lambeth say they need money for repairs one minute and then education the next. Like the reasons for ‘shortlife recall’ across the years, the ‘rationale’ behind their financial arguments changes all the time.

Permanency was an option that was offered to ‘Shortlife’ Co-ops right back at the start. However, after co-ops completed the council’s requirements re: training etc, the option was suddenly retracted.  Meanwhile, permanency deals attempted in the 1990s went by the wayside when the council pulled out of them.


“It would be senseless as well as expensive to evict people only to have to re-house them again.”  Lambeth Labour councillors

Offers of rehousing have been subject to various shifting deadlines and used as coercion. The council would like to portray ‘shortlifers’ as having amicably accepted rehousing, but, in reality, many were not able to mount a defence to the legal action and are unhappy about moving.

People have been shown properties of a poorer standard that the ones they are leaving and unsuitable in many ways in terms of cleanliness, location and health and safety (asbestos, no flooring etc).

Some people have found themselves homeless after receiving no suitable rehousing.

Meanwhile whole communities are being purged.

Lambeth council destroyed working class communities in the 1970s, now in the 2010s they’re destroying co-operative communities.

The Money Pit & The Climate of Fear

The eviction process means that Lambeth are spending money on contractors, vacant property mangers, lawyers, bailiffs and auctioneers.

Developers strut up and down the streets of previously established and stable communities and talk about houses as if they are not homes we are still living in.

Council officers have visited and insulted some ‘short lifers’ within earshot.

Contractors have smashed up facilities in vacated houses and then refurbished them for the ‘tenants’ of vacant property managers.

Meanwhile the legality of using vacant property mangers (who incidentally, receive money both from their ‘tenants’ and from the council) has been questioned by top lawyers.

Speaking of lawyers…

We have heard anecdotal evidence that Devonshires – Lambeth’s legal attack dogs – have intimidated people in court in private rooms.

They are charging costs to us of 5 times the amount that our own solicitors are.

Add to that inflated ‘use and occupation charges’ of tens of thousands of pounds that they are implementing on behalf of a council who never sought any relationship with our co-ops, financial or otherwise.

Suddenly ‘shortlifers’ are tenants when it suits Lambeth to bleed money out of them!

Trying to negotiate with Lambeth

Despite Lambeth United Housing Co-operative drawing together a coalition of co-operative and social housing professionals, Lambeth has shown no interest in a social housing solution.

In order to distance itself from doing so, the council have hijacked the agenda of a key meeting about the ‘Super Co-op’ solution, denied meeting minutes and declined a meeting brokered by a local social housing provider.

Demand the eviction of Lambeth’s Labour Councillors

If a council can behave so badly on one issue why would you trust them with anything else?

The ‘co-operative council’ is a sham.

The ‘shortlife saga’ has found this borough wanting in every level.

Don’t talk to us about a renaissance in local government when such a prominent borough behaves in such a jackboot manner!

COMMENT: New (Labour) Speak

May 30, 2013 11:11 AM
Lambeth Town HallSpectamur Agendo is the high-minded Latin motto of Lambeth Council - in common parlance it means "Judge us by our Actions".
There must be many residents noting ruefully that, there has never been a time in the whole of its somewhat chequered history when the ruling Lambeth Labour party's torrent of fine words seems so oddly mismatched with its actions.
What brings this disconnect so sharply into focus currently is that Labour has made great play of its historic roots by launching The Cooperative Council onto an unsuspecting world. At first nobody quite knew what it was - most, even within the Council, most still don't.
But as a buzz word that chimed distantly with working people's struggles of nearly a century ago and which promised a shiny new contract with Lambeth citizens today, the Cooperative Council moniker must have seemed for a while like an ad man's dream slogan.
Its chief author, however, quickly flew south like some jet-propelled migrating bird and the new Council Leader has since had plenty of time to ditch the disjointed jingle that is so out of tune with reality. But not a bit of it. Like some lumbering liner holding its course steady in the face of impending calamity, the Cooperative Council sails on imperiously.
The Cooperative Council, surely, should be one that fundamentally listens rather than dictates, one that works in partnership and harmony with the community, and one that enthusiastically embraces what the people it serves really want?
Is there even the remotest sign of this?
Take the occupants of what Lambeth euphemistically calls Short-Life Property. These are occupied by tenants who have lived and improved properties that Lambeth bought under compulsory purchase orders or had transferred to them by long defunct public bodies like the LCC or GLC but allowed to fall into dereliction or were already derelict and due for redevelopment for new public housing estates.
This really is ancient history for some as we are of course talking now about anything up to forty years ago but with a sudden and inexplicable zeal the Cooperative Council is rushing around to the most expensive lawyers in the land to hand out the eviction notices before the next election.
The official Labour line is that the time has come to release this valuable public property it has so manifestly neglected over four decades because the housing waiting list queue has actually got longer in Lambeth in nearly half a century. Not a great record you might think. But there's worse.
Even setting aside the legal fees and court time of their half-baked actions that have even invoked the fury of Labour MP Kate Hoey, the Labour Council's plan is that the reclaimed properties will not reduce the housing waiting list one jot but will only be sold on the private market at auction or redeveloped.
Meanwhile another former Lambeth Labour Leader, with his current cabinet hat on, is talking to the media about health inequality and the difference in life expectancy between rich and poor Lambeth citizens. At the same time, the same cabinet member is parading around the borough threatening to evict elderly folk from their sheltered housing homes. We'd say that such brutal and uncooperative treatment is almost guaranteed to shorten their lives.
The Cooperative Council is purely a figment of some fevered imagination and designed to hoodwink the public. Labour-run Lambeth is the very epitome of a centralist, top-down, non-consulting, non-listening, non-caring organisation that could possibly be devised in the modern world. Its political control-freakery has to be witnessed to be believed.
There is no sign of cooperation or sharing of ideas in the Council Chamber, nor respect for another's point of view let alone any meaningful collaboration. Labour plays all of its cards so close to its chest that they are almost tattoos and its ruling junta truly believes that it alone knows best.
The armies of spin doctors employed in the Town Hall are adept at weaving a convincing tapestry of fine words. Labour cabinet members can Talk the Talk but can they Walk the Walk?
Maybe they should look more often at Lambeth's noble Latin inscription and ponder its simple and down-to-earth translation and wonder when their own actions will finally be judged?

AND don’t wait for the local elections next year to make your opposition to this felt, DEMAND the ‘eviction’ of Lambeth’s Labour councillors by sending them the below email and continue to lobby them in any way that you can.

Email title: Eviction Notice

Dear [Insert name of Labour councillor here]

[list of councillors belonging to each party is here: ]

[Meanwhile, emails for the Labour group are here:]

As you have failed to keep your promise to protect the long-standing housing co-op communities in your borough, you are hereby given notice of eviction from your duties.

Please resign your seat with immediate effect.


[copy to

Council leader: Lib Peck

Council chief executive: Derrick Anderson

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