A food bank has opened in Liverpool specifically to feed young people aged 16 to 25 who have been hit by benefit sanctions.
Merseyside Youth Association (MYA) set up the service when it became clear that young people in the city, often struggling with debts, were going hungry but felt uneasy about using regular food banks.
“A lot of people said they felt embarrassed to go to another food bank. They’d go to their nan’s and borrow food or go to their friend’s and say ‘can I borrow a few tins of beans?’. They’d rather rely on them than go to the food bank,” said Thomas Radcliffe, a mentor from the charity.
The food bank, open each Wednesday afternoon at MYA’s city centre base, is unlike many others in that young people can drop in without a referral or voucher and collect as much food as they need. It has been awarded £2,000 from Liverpool city council’s Mayor’s Hope Fund, which gives pots of funding to organisations tackling food poverty.
Each client is helped to complete a form asking why they are attending, and a counsellor is available for emotional support. Although only in its second week, organisers say 36 young people have already used the service, with debt and benefit sanctions the most common reasons.
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