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Harlow Foodbank – Serving the Community

You may not believe it, but the Harlow district falls into the 30% most deprived districts nationally and 23% of children are living below the poverty line in the streets of our town. Harlow Foodbank provides emergency food to people in crisis in Harlow and the surrounding area and supports local people who find themselves in difficulties, often through no fault of their own. It is truly a community project which partners with local churches, schools, supermarkets, businesses and individuals who donate food to the foodbank. Foodbanks also offer additional support to help

break the cycle of poverty, putting people in touch with relevant front-line agencies who can offer further advice and support. All foodbank referrals come from front-line care professionals who hold foodbank vouchers which they issue when they identify an individual or family in crisis. The voucher can then be taken to one of the foodbank satellite centres in Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford where people receive a warm welcome, a hot drink and three days-worth of nutritionally balanced food. At the end of July 2013 Harlow Foodbank has fed over 8,274 people in crisis with emergency food

in Harlow and the surrounding area since it opened in April 2009. In the last financial year the foodbank collected over 23 tonnes of donated food from the community and distributed 22.5 tonnes through its referral system working in partnership with over 76 front-line care professionals. The foodbank now feeds an average of 264 people in crisis each month (201 adults & 63 children). This year have referrals have increased by 54% (an increase of 92 people each month) in comparison to the same period last year. The main reasons for people using the foodbank are: benefit delay, low income, homelessness,

benefit cuts, refused Crisis Loan, debt, unemployment, domestic violence, sickness and delayed wages. Over 60% of referrals to the foodbank are due to some form of benefit change or delay. Gary Knott, Director of Community Services, says: ‘In these challenging and difficult economic

times more and more people are coming to the foodbank for help and support, especially when they are faced with higher shopping, fuel and utility bill charges. Many others have seen their benefits challenged and/or amended, which has had a major impact on their day to day lives. In the first four months of this year Harlow Foodbank has seen referrals increase by 54% (an increase of 92 people per month), as opposed to the same period last year, and to support this the foodbank now needs over 3.5 tonnes of donated food each month. Through all of these difficult challenges I would like to thank everyone who continues to support us by making regular and one-off food donations, which have been the lifeblood and backbone of our work’.

Harlow College News

Netteswell Neighbour welcomes the College’s new Principal, Karen Spencer, who has sent the following message to our readers. At Harlow College you will find everything to help you to learn and

succeed. We offer a safe, secure and welcoming environment where you can be confident that you will receive a great education. We are the No. 1 College in England for student success and our

staff are fully committed to helping you achieve your goals. We are here to set you up for your future - to do this, we’ll make sure you not only get the qualifications you need, but we’ll also develop your personal, employability and enterprise skills. All we ask from you is commitment and in return we will get you where you want to be. The College welcomes students from all ages, abilities and interests, studying on a range of academic,

vocational and technical courses. We attract students from many miles away and we work closely with employers and community partners, to help the economy to thrive and grow. We also pride ourselves on the excellent progression opportunities these partnerships provide, both into employment and onto further levels of study. We are based in Harlow Town Centre and we have exciting facilities such as our University Centre,

excellent resources and talented, well qualified teachers. Our courses are designed to create the skilled, qualified people needed to help our community. We look forward to welcoming you to our College.

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