Parishioners begging vicars for food - Bishop of Durham

Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham

Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Durham)

CHURCH vicars are increasingly being asked for help by hungry parishioners, the Bishop of Durham has claimed.

The Right Reverend Paul Butler spoke out as ministers sought to brush off new figures revealing more than 900,000 people turned to foodbanks for emergency relief in the past 12 months – a near three-fold increase on the previous year.

Bishop Butler, a former social worker, said: “Clergy have told me of increased requests directly from parishioners struggling to make ends meet.”

And, having joined dozens of bishops and hundreds of faith leaders in signing an open letter demanding the Government take urgent action, he urged: “This is a reality and not a problem that will easily be solved – but solve it, we must.”

Yesterday (Tuesday, April 15), the Trussell Trust, which runs 400 foodbanks nationwide, reported a 463 per cent year-on-year rise in demand across the North-East.

Bishop Butler said that many families were facing the “terrible reality” of empty cupboards was deeply challenging and raised acute moral, social and political questions.

Speaking of a recent visit to a Hartlepool foodbank, he said the number of children in need was shocking.

One foodbank user from Brandon said she had asked for help having been forced to leave a stable life and move to care for her father and his partner.

“We have now been housed by Durham County Council, found help and guidance through places like foodbank. Without this help until benefits are resolved and wages for new jobs are paid, we would not be able to survive,” she added.

The faith leaders’ letter, published today, calls food poverty a “national crisis” and comes just two months after 27 bishops said Prime Minister David Cameron had a moral duty to act on the growing number going hungry.

The Department for Works and Pensions has tried to dismiss the foodbank figures as unclear and misleading, but Maria Eagle, the shadow environment secretary, said they told the “shocking truth” of Britain’s cost-of-living crisis and said ministers needed to get a grip.

Tonight, campaign End Hunger Fast staged a rally and vigil outside Parliament.

Comments (9)

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12:40am Thu 17 Apr 14

Voice-of-reality says...

They should beg at the door of the Dean - nice house in the Close, another house in France I believe. Moreover, the Bishop has a hot tub - so he should have some food available for others ..... practice what you preach Bishop, practice what you preach.
Question to Bishop: How many 'down and outs are you entertaining at home on Easter Sunday'? I suspect I know the answer.
They should beg at the door of the Dean - nice house in the Close, another house in France I believe. Moreover, the Bishop has a hot tub - so he should have some food available for others ..... practice what you preach Bishop, practice what you preach. Question to Bishop: How many 'down and outs are you entertaining at home on Easter Sunday'? I suspect I know the answer. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 15

10:54am Thu 17 Apr 14

Homshaw1 says...

If people are unemployed through no fault of their own they should receive enough to maintain a dignified existence until they get back on their feet. If people are unable to work through disability or because they are genuinely not physically or mentally up to it we should look after them.

We should not be asked to support drinking, smoking or drug habits or maintain expensive life styles or people who choose not to support themselves.

The welfare system is designed to do this.

Instead of these stories which simply say "We have no food - We are hundry" is it not possible to ask reporters to interview, at random, people using food banks and find out how they arrive at this situation

There are deeply divided views. We need to understand how this is happening.
If people are unemployed through no fault of their own they should receive enough to maintain a dignified existence until they get back on their feet. If people are unable to work through disability or because they are genuinely not physically or mentally up to it we should look after them. We should not be asked to support drinking, smoking or drug habits or maintain expensive life styles or people who choose not to support themselves. The welfare system is designed to do this. Instead of these stories which simply say "We have no food - We are hundry" is it not possible to ask reporters to interview, at random, people using food banks and find out how they arrive at this situation There are deeply divided views. We need to understand how this is happening. Homshaw1
  • Score: 12

4:04pm Thu 17 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

Well said gentlemen. The proposed follow-up of food bank clients by forensic reporting would make sensational reading. I can't fathom out why it hasn't happened.
Well said gentlemen. The proposed follow-up of food bank clients by forensic reporting would make sensational reading. I can't fathom out why it hasn't happened. David Lacey
  • Score: 3

4:24pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Voice-of-reality says...

David,
Go and pack and get ready for Prague - if you go over Charles Bridge into the old town and go straight through the first couple of squares there are some fabulous out of the way and locally supported restaurants - - look for an 'old town hall' type of building. Enjoy your break
David, Go and pack and get ready for Prague - if you go over Charles Bridge into the old town and go straight through the first couple of squares there are some fabulous out of the way and locally supported restaurants - - look for an 'old town hall' type of building. Enjoy your break Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Homshaw1 says...

I have nothing against giving food to people if they need it. I just don't understand why it is happening to such an extent. Surely a million people are not having benefits withheld for no reason.

Work is hard to get but why do some seem to cope ok on benefits while others struggle?

What does the Bishop want the government to do - stop sanctioning people who won't apply for jobs, increase welfare benefit levels. It isn't going to happen.

Maybe food stamps are the answer but I'm sure they have there downside not least the stigma that is attached to them
I have nothing against giving food to people if they need it. I just don't understand why it is happening to such an extent. Surely a million people are not having benefits withheld for no reason. Work is hard to get but why do some seem to cope ok on benefits while others struggle? What does the Bishop want the government to do - stop sanctioning people who won't apply for jobs, increase welfare benefit levels. It isn't going to happen. Maybe food stamps are the answer but I'm sure they have there downside not least the stigma that is attached to them Homshaw1
  • Score: 2

7:11pm Thu 17 Apr 14

DarloXman says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
They should beg at the door of the Dean - nice house in the Close, another house in France I believe. Moreover, the Bishop has a hot tub - so he should have some food available for others ..... practice what you preach Bishop, practice what you preach.
Question to Bishop: How many 'down and outs are you entertaining at home on Easter Sunday'? I suspect I know the answer.
If Jesus does happen to be resurrected again this Sunday I doubt he'll be round the Bishop of Durham's neither! He is more likely to be entering the churches property overturning tables and exposing the hypocrites for what they are!
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: They should beg at the door of the Dean - nice house in the Close, another house in France I believe. Moreover, the Bishop has a hot tub - so he should have some food available for others ..... practice what you preach Bishop, practice what you preach. Question to Bishop: How many 'down and outs are you entertaining at home on Easter Sunday'? I suspect I know the answer.[/p][/quote]If Jesus does happen to be resurrected again this Sunday I doubt he'll be round the Bishop of Durham's neither! He is more likely to be entering the churches property overturning tables and exposing the hypocrites for what they are! DarloXman
  • Score: 1

7:50pm Thu 17 Apr 14

Border Terrier says...

During the Blair/Brown years, our resident young chav girls, banged out as many kids as possible. Why? More kids= More benefits. Benefits now drastically cut. Sky subscriptions cancelled as well!
Unfortunately the North East always suffers under the Tory's.
Labour client state, guaranteed votes!
During the Blair/Brown years, our resident young chav girls, banged out as many kids as possible. Why? More kids= More benefits. Benefits now drastically cut. Sky subscriptions cancelled as well! Unfortunately the North East always suffers under the Tory's. Labour client state, guaranteed votes! Border Terrier
  • Score: -3

9:28am Fri 18 Apr 14

think twice says...

People who qualify for any kind of benefits have no reason to go hungry. It's those who just miss out who are taking the biggest hit, but these struggle through because they have little choice.
People who qualify for any kind of benefits have no reason to go hungry. It's those who just miss out who are taking the biggest hit, but these struggle through because they have little choice. think twice
  • Score: 3

11:37am Fri 18 Apr 14

oliviaden6 says...

All churches and the like are awash with money? Instead of criticizing why do they not sell off some of their historical assets and get the coffers open and do more to alleviate the on going problems, they sit on their hands and pass judgements and do nothing? The Church of England and the Roman churches are among the richest Companies in the world both in cash and assets.
All churches and the like are awash with money? Instead of criticizing why do they not sell off some of their historical assets and get the coffers open and do more to alleviate the on going problems, they sit on their hands and pass judgements and do nothing? The Church of England and the Roman churches are among the richest Companies in the world both in cash and assets. oliviaden6
  • Score: 1

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