According to the latest independent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), unemployment is at its lowest rate since 1975.
However, the ONS also found that 630,000 people were claiming Universal Credit and 60 per cent of those were without jobs.
Reports that almost a quarter of all claimants have had to wait more than six weeks to receive their first payment of Universal Credit have forced people to turn to foodbanks.
The Trussell Trust, the charity overseeing at least 400 of the UK’s foodbanks, estimated that between April 1 and September 30 this year, nearly 600,000 three-day emergency food parcels had been supplied to people in crisis.
Fortunately, the generosity of communities like South Holland, the Deepings and villages around Sutterton has ensured that individuals and families in crisis have a lifeline just when they need it.
With this in mind, the Spalding Guardian is launching its seventh annual Christmas Foodbank Appeal, in partnership with Agapecare Foodbank of Spalding and Long Sutton, Holbeach Community Larder and foodbanks in Sutton Bridge, Deeping St James and Sutterton.
Editor Jeremy Ransome said: “I’ve always been amazed to see the kindness and goodness of our readers ever since we launched our very first Christmas Foodbank Appeal back in November 2011.
“With unemployment, redundancy, benefit delays and personal crisis continuing to face people across South Holland and south-east Lincolnshire, we once again need the help of readers to make this Christmas a brighter one for those in our community who may find the next few weeks to be anything but festive.”
No time like the present to start making a difference in the places where it is needed
Schools, businesses and voluntary groups have wasted no time in making plans to help hundreds of needy people in South Holland this Christmas.
On Thursday, Spalding Lions presented a cheque for £300 to Agapecare Foodbank Spalding at the same time as youngsters and staff from the town’s Garth School were busy packing food hampers ready for this year’s Christmas Foodbank Appeal.
Pastor Chas Sandhu, minister of The Lighthouse Church where Agapecare Foodbank Spalding is based, said: “We had a very good response from churches and schools with donations from their harvest festivals.
“In fact, people have been generous all the way through the year and whatever is given to us, we make good use of it and nothing is thrown away.”
Jeanne Sibley, centre manager for Long Sutton Market House where the town’s foodbank is based, said: “Our Agapecare Foodbank always manages to give families food parcels, Christmas crackers and selection boxes every year.
“I’m sure that the huge number of local people who donate to the foodbank at Christmas are quite likely to include toys and any other items which we suggest to them.”
Every year, our Christmas Foodbank Appeal depends on the generosity of readers to help people in South Holland, the Deepings and Sutterton who would otherwise have a dark and desperate Christmas.
You can bring food, festive goods and toy donations to Agapecare Foodbank centres at The Lighthouse Church, Haverfield Road, Spalding, and The Market House, Market Street, Long Sutton.
Donations can also be taken to St Mary and St Nicolas Church, Spalding; All Saints Church, Moulton; St Mary’s Church, Whaplode; All Saints’ Church, Holbeach; St Mary’s Church, Long Sutton; St Matthew’s Church, Sutton Bridge; St Mary’s Church, Sutterton; Priory Church, Deeping St James; and St Guthlac’s Church, Market Deeping.
Food donations are also accepted at Sainsbury’s in Spalding; Morrisons in Pinchbeck and The Deepings School, Park Road, Deeping St James.
Finally, readers are welcome to bring donations to our reception at Priory House, The Crescent, Spalding.