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Bishop's Stortford High School students' Easter treat for food bank

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An Easter treat is in store for families supported by Bishop’s Stortford Food Bank.

Students at The Bishop’s Stortford High School collected more than 70 chocolate eggs for the good cause, which helps some of the town’s most vulnerable people.

The London Road secondary is a long-term supporter of the food bank, based at the Methodist church in South Street. Simon Etheridge, head of religious studies and citizenship, said: “Thank you to parents, students and staff for their very kind donations of Easter eggs for the wonderful Bishop’s Stortford Food Bank. It was truly egg-cellent!”

Easter eggs at Bishop's Stortford High School (55834723)
Easter eggs at Bishop's Stortford High School (55834723)

The food bank is bracing for a surge in demand as families struggle with a 54% jump in gas and electricity bills, a rise in council tax and an increase in National Insurance payments this month.

Chairman Bill Macdonald said there was a growing concern: “We are a member of IFAN (the Independent Food Aid Network) and we had one of our regular webinars, with over 30 independent food banks from all around the UK sharing experiences about how things are at the moment.

“In short, things are pretty grim, with demand soaring even before the cost of living rises start to hit those already struggling.

"There was huge disappointment the Chancellor had not increased Universal Credit (UC) in line with inflation in his Spring Statement.

“People who run food banks are a pretty resilient lot, but some of those at the meeting were close to tears, wondering how long it would be before food banks started to 'crack' under the strain.

“While we all hoped those in food and fuel poverty may benefit from the Household Support Fund to be distributed by local authorities, in reality the measure was considered to be just a drop in the ocean compared with the obvious need – and a far less effective way than UC of providing targeted help to those in poverty. We can only hope the Government has a rethink on UC over the summer months.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak doubled the Household Support Fund, distributed by local authorities, to £1 billion in his Spring Statement in March. In October last year, UC payments were cut by £20 a week, returning them to pre-Covid pandemic levels.

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