So here I am sitting on the train back from London again, what a couple of weeks, what better time to sit and get on with Blog #2.
In the last few weeks since writing the first of our blogs we have been so busy, we have had a half term with our #FeedingBritain project running which saw us serving 594 meals to children with no charge, using 93% surplus food, and having amazing resident artists in for the week.
We have been working alongside Feeding Britain to move forward developing the Citizens Supermarket to be open in Birkenhead in early 2018, which I hope I will be able to tell you a lot more about in the next Blog.
I have had such ups and downs through Neo in the last few weeks, a small boy came into our centre and was excited at the sight of a banana and was so happy when one of our team asked would he like to eat it. This is just wrong and should not be happening, we have become a society that is becoming more and more used to hearing the stories of children suffering food insecurity, pensioners not being able to pay their bills and sitting in cold dark homes, hard-working people struggling to have any sort of standard of living even when working in excess of 45-50 hours a week.
Well, I did say it has been a week of ups and downs and that brings me to my next thought on the situation we find ourselves in. I was sitting in the chamber at the Houses of Parliament with MP Frank Field and Andrew Forsey yesterday chatting about our work and what we have been doing and again going over some of the problems and difficulties people are bringing to us at the moment, and Frank as Frank does put it so very well, “why are we describing the problem as food insecurity? Why are we not just telling people exactly what it is; people starving, children starving, parents not knowing where the next meal is coming from?” Yes the way that we as communities are talking about the issue and helping to support these problems are massively important, but when we are telling the people who have the power to change the problems, fix the breaks within the system why are we sugar-coating the pill, the pill should be the true reality and hurt to swallow!
I also managed to get a front row seat in the House of Commons today to listen to the live debate on the women affected by state pension age increase and was in awe of the passion and knowledge so many of the MPs showed on this subject and on the flip side of this how unthoughful and insulting what some of the other comments were, how many a female MP no matter what political party she is from, to stand up and say that if a 63-year-old woman who has worked all her life and is now stuck waiting for pension should be sent on an apprenticeship and does not see how this is insulting, if a 63-year-old, an 80-year-old would like to do an apprenticeship allthough they should be able to, this should not be used as yet another stats game for hiding the truth and forcing people on to courses that are no help, not what they want or degrading to the individual just to make a problem go away!
Neo with the support of The Hive, Wirral Youth Zone in Birkenhead and others are about to begin our busiest Christmas ever on Monday with up to 3000 being supported through our Christmas Appeal where we will see over 200 volunteers working hard to provide people with Food, Toys, Gifts and Toiletries to insure as many of the people who are struggling to know how they will all have the basics over Christmas have that stress taken away with a delivery to the door, along with Tranmere Rovers giving all of the people we are supporting with free match day experiences, and Radio City Cash for kids supporting up to 80 of the kids we all work with having a magical Christmas experience at St Georges Hall.