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Now even Mumbles needs a food bank

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 03, 2013

Comments (24)

HARD-UP people in one of Swansea's most affluent areas have been given emergency packages from a local food bank.

Mumbles, where average house prices are not far off £250,000 and rental accommodation does not come cheap, has had a food bank based in the village since October last year.

Co-ordinator Kristina Williams said people from the area had been "incredibly generous" in donating items like pasta, tinned fruit, potatoes, cereal, beans, squash and rice.

But while the food bank is there to serve people from across the city, Mrs Williams said that some Mumbles residents had walked through the door with vouchers in return for an 8kg food package.

"There are some local people that are in need," said Mrs Williams.

"We also get some people from West Cross. And people come from town and (places like) Cwmbwrla."

She added: "What is overwhelming is people's generosity. To start with, more food was coming in than we were distributing.

"Some people came to us with a (car) boot full of food."

The food bank at Red Cafe in Mumbles Road is open on Mondays and complements an existing one in Gorseinon, which hands out food on Thursdays.

A third branch of umbrella organisation Swansea Foodbank is due to open in Clydach next month. Swansea Foodbank coordinator Tony Quinn said the service fed 2,300 people in the 12 months up to March 31 this year, compared to 863 people in the preceding 12 months. It records the numbers via food bank vouchers that charities, health and social services agencies give to people in need.

"Some people have not eaten for days," he said.

Some of the huge rise in demand was due to many agencies now being aware of Swansea Foodbank's existence, said Mr Quinn.

He reckoned around 60 per cent of customers were on benefits or had benefits-related issues, such as payment delays. The remainder were low income workers and specific cases such as women who had fled violent partners.

"It's not just people on low incomes who are feeling the pinch at the moment," he said. "Increased redundancy, reduced hours and fewer jobs are having a real impact."

Swansea Foodbank has some 30 volunteers and is an initiative of Christian-based organisation The Trussell Trust, which has 327 UK food banks open or in development.

Mr Quinn, of Gorseinon, said people's feedback was great. He said: "We get letters saying, 'We didn't know where to turn'. People are very grateful."

Asked if the service might report another doubling of customers this time next year, Mr Quinn replied: "My gut feeling is 'yes', although the hidden hungry have always been there."

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  • GowerGal82  |  April 05 2013, 9:59AM

    nimso12, it's refreshing to hear off someone who actually has first hand experience of what everyone else is so keen to comment on!! I'm sorry to hear you had such a hard time. It just goes to show how people misjudge! I've been fortunate enough to have lived on Gower for 26 years but there is no way I could own my own house here.

  • jswansea  |  April 04 2013, 3:24PM

    DebtIsReal where did you get your figures from? Surely that would make your interest @ 6% on a 160k mortgage over a 25 year period? Most rates are a lot lower than that at the moment. Although I agree with you, house prices are over inflated. But there are still cash buyers paying over a £1million for a house in the Mumbles, Gower region. Here is hoping inflation catches up otherwise we are all going to be looking for a quick exit. :)

  • Whichypoohs  |  April 04 2013, 1:08PM

    Well it's lucky that I can sit in Mumbles mortgage free. love it here.

  • DebtIsReal  |  April 04 2013, 12:06PM

    It's good that the article has associated the high house prices as the reason why people are struggling to make ends meet. In 1997 when an average house cost £59k a mortgage was £380 a month. Now it's £160k it's £1,030 a month. All that extra debt to service so that banks make more mortgage interest from us. Mothers who work should be able to spend their income not use it to service so much debt.

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  • jswansea  |  April 03 2013, 10:17PM

    There are plenty of millionaires in mumbles. But mumbles also includes many other areas into its district. Of course not all the people living in mumbles are wealthy and the unjustified council tax is crippling families and the retired. Swansea council has shafted us so they can keep there public sector afloat even though it's wholly over manned. With food prices and bills rising budgeting is becoming a joke for all across the city.

    |   9
  • KP287  |  April 03 2013, 7:20PM

    It`s not just the people in Mumbles that will suffer if interest rates rise, everyone including the government who borrow heavily will be affected. When I say say affected, it is understating the catastrophic consequences for everybody, low interest rates are the only thing serving any positive function at the moment. This government better pray interest rates stay low until 2015, otherwise look out, there is no real tax revenue being created by this lot and as mentioned in a number of comments, low interest is all thats` keeping people in their houses. A rise of even 2-3% would be devastating and cause more economic damage than anything this inept chancellor could do.

    |   6
  • nimso12  |  April 03 2013, 6:39PM

    I was brought up in Mumbles, my family lived in the same house for 56 years. In the end we could not afford to keep the house and were forced to sell. I now live in a council house in West Cross and have experienced hardship where we were relying on family and friends in order to eat for 3 months. Not everyone in Mumbles have lots of money. Some houses have been in families for more than 50 years. The only reason we had a house in Mumbles was because my parents bought it off my grandparents at a reduced price, it's what sometimes happens in order for people to afford these things. I would have very much welcomed these food banks had I known about them when I was struggling a few years ago.

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  • grandstand  |  April 03 2013, 6:34PM

    to many people living above there means

    |   -3
  • victor-mildew  |  April 03 2013, 3:31PM

    Is it the fault of the home owners that asking prices are so high or is it just that they believe what estate agents are telling them? Estate agents will always inflate prices when valuing a property in order to out-do other agents and thus get the business. Also, have you EVER heard an estate agent saying it's the WRONG time to buy? Of course not!!

    |   9
  • Philosoraptor  |  April 03 2013, 3:23PM

    Been reading the comments, does this mean I am not the only one who laughed when they said the housing crash happened all the way back in 2008? Because I have been saying, as have others, we ain't seen anything yet in comparison to what could happen between now and 2017.

    |   4