THE plight of starving families in former pit communities has been liked to their struggles during the miners’ strike.
The demand for emergency food handouts has trebled in recent weeks, amid crippling budget cuts to services run by voluntary groups.
Bosses at East Durham Trust have seen the need for food parcels – from its Food Emergency East Durham project – increase three-fold to 30 per week.
Easington MP Grahame Morris has described the situation as a “tragic” one that harks back to the times of soup kitchens during the miners’ strike in the 1980s.
Bosses at the trust fear the situation is only going to get worse as scathing Government cuts, job losses and welfare reforms, coupled with the rising cost of living, take hold.
They say the need for donations of food is more important than ever and appeal for people to help.
Trust chief executive Malcolm Fallow said: “It’s surprising the kinds of people who are finding themselves in crisis.
“It’s not just people who have been on benefits for years and years, it’s people who have worked all their lives and find themselves in crisis overnight.
“We anticipate that when the welfare reforms come in, in the autumn, there will be an even greater demand.”
Mr Morris added: “When people are forced into dire straits and have to rely on food aid to feed their families, it’s a sad indictment of society and the policies this Government are pursuing.”
East Durham Trust offers a wide range of services to all sorts of community groups, from cricket clubs to regeneration partnerships.
The Peterlee-based organisation’s main services include funding advice, community engagement, representation and networking, office services, and encouraging social enterprise.
To find out more about volunteering within the Easington district, or a member of a community group which needs assistance, call 569 3511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.