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New advice line for Peterborough food bank users launched

Peterborough residents who use food banks can now benefit from additional advice and support, thanks to a new partnership between Peterborough Foodbank and Citizens Advice Peterborough.

Advice will be provided via a dedicated telephone service, which is to be delivered by trained advisers at Citizens Advice Peterborough. Foodbank clients referred to the advice line will be offered a fast-track service. Topics covered will include welfare support, debt problems, budgeting and income maximisation.

Peterborough Foodbank provides free emergency food parcels to local families who are struggling financially via a referral process in co-ordination with other local support agencies. During the initial lockdown period (March to June), we saw a 70% increase in the number of families needing support due to job losses, being placed on furlough or lost income as a result of the pandemic. While the numbers dropped over the summer, they are anticipated to increase again as a result of winter, potential localised lockdowns and changes to the job support scheme.

Funding worth £30,000 from the Trussell Trust has been secured by Peterborough Foodbank to pay for the new advice service, which will launch to the public on 1st October 2020. Peterborough Foodbank and Citizens Advice Peterborough have worked closely together in the past and advisers at Citizens Advice Peterborough are already trained to issue foodbank vouchers to families in need.

Juliet Welch, manager at Peterborough Foodbank, said:

“Normally at the foodbank, we would sit and chat with people and signpost them to other agencies who can help deal with the underlying problem of why they have needed the food parcel. However, this has not been possible during the COVID outbreak. We have seen a shift in the types of people needing our support so being able to provide them professional advice may help them resolve their crisis. We are really excited to be able to refer our clients to Citizens Advice for telephone support which we believe will be invaluable.”

Keith Jones, chief officer at Citizens Advice Peterborough said:

“This is a valuable new service dedicated to support people in the city currently facing food poverty.  We have a good track record of successful partnership working with Peterborough Foodbank and this new service will make a positive difference to people and families who are struggling to put food onto the table at a really difficult and challenging time.”

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