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Cornwall's Hunger Crisis Revealed

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11:03am 27th March 2013

Pirate FM has learnt a Cornish charity is giving food to needy families every two minutes.

64 turned up at the Camborne Foodbank in just two hours.

That is more than 1500 boxes.

Spokesman Don Gardner says benefit changes are making it worse: "Two people phoned me already this week, having had their council tax bills and they are £250 because of this so-called 'bedroom tax'. Suddenly they've got a £250 bill landed in their lap. What are they going to do? Are they going to eat this week or are they going to pay their bill?

"I had a man who eats every other day because he cannot afford to eat and feed his four children. At the start it was a crisis foodbank. Now we're getting people who are working and who still can't afford to live."

Julie Stoddern takes in young street sleepers in the town and is using the service herself: "It's definitely a lifeline. It's not just people who are classed as homeless or coming out of prison. You get your everyday person now where their circumstances have changed, their wages have dropped, rent's gone up food's gone up and people just can't maintain themselves."

"If it wasn't there a lot of youngsters would probably just die on the streets to be honest with you, because it's their lifeline. A lot of them don't want to steal, because that's the only other option for them, to steal from the shops. The foodbank is a good option for them to stay out of crime."

This as it is revealed over a quarter of Duchy families cut back on food to pay the bills.

Research from Shelter claims over a million people in the South West cut back last year in a bid to stay in their homes. 27% - equivalent to 1.1 million people - said they had cut back on food. Meanwhile, 19% - equivalent to almost 800,000 people - cut back on gas and electricity to help meet their rent or mortgage costs.

The research also showed that families with children were hardest pressed. Nationally, 42% - equivalent to 5.5 million families with children at home - cut back on food and one in four (27%) - equivalent to 3.4 million families - cut back on gas and electricity to help meet their rent or mortgage costs.

Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said: "These startling figures show just how many people in the South West face a daily choice between the roof over their head and the food on their plate.

"The effects of the recession, the rising cost of housing and cuts to the housing safety net have left many families in a very vulnerable position. Every fifteen minutes a family in England finds themselves homeless.

"We've seen more and more people coming to us for help in the last six months. For thousands of people already desperately battling to keep their home, further benefit changes next month could be the final blow. Anyone whose home could be at risk needs to get advice as soon as possible. Shelter can help prevent more families going through the devastation of losing their home."  

Anyone needing help can get free advice at shelter.org.uk/advice or search Shelter housing advice.

11:03am 27th March 2013

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