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Poverty in Ipswich now so bad people will have to cook more with less, foodbank founder warns

Maureen Reynel, founder of FIND (Families in Need) Ipswich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Maureen Reynel, founder of FIND (Families in Need) Ipswich. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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A rise in poverty in Ipswich has become so stark that some people may have to accept food shortages and learn how to cook more with less, a foodbank founder has warned.

Carolyn Girling, 58, from Ipswich volunteering at the FIND foodbank. Picture: Neil DidsburyCarolyn Girling, 58, from Ipswich volunteering at the FIND foodbank. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Latest figures from Ipswich-based Families In Need (FIND) over the school holidays revealed yet another shocking rise in foodbank use - from 702 food parcels between July and early September in 2018 to 921 in the same period this year, a rise of 31%.

Demand for food parcels tends to rise during the summer anyway, because children are at home and parents cannot rely on schools and breakfast clubs to provide meals.

Maureen Reynel, founder of FIND - which also provides free household goods to struggling families - added: "They are at home more, children keep wanting to dip in to snacks.

"Their energy levels are probably going to be much higher because they are running around more."

Maureen Reynel MBE at the new FIND food bank site in the former changing rooms adjacent to Gainsborough Sports Centre  Picture: WARREN PAGEMaureen Reynel MBE at the new FIND food bank site in the former changing rooms adjacent to Gainsborough Sports Centre Picture: WARREN PAGE

However as FIND prepares to open new headquarters in Brazier's Wood Road, adjacent to Gainsborough Sports Centre, to help cope with the extra demand, Mrs Reynel said the situation "is pretty frightening for some people".

"They're pretty distraught that there's no money in their pockets to provide for their children.

"I'm having to find more funding to buy more food for people.

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"People are really, really worried about it. It seems a lot of people are really concerned about Brexit but some people can't even worry about those sort of things, because they're trying to get through one day at a time. It is really difficult."

The solution, she believes, is that: "There's just going to have to be a steep learning curve about people learning to cook with basic ingredients."

She believes that schools can help young learn how to mix and match ingredients to make nutritious food so that they can survive on less should they need to in the future.

However she said everyone could benefit from learning simple cooking tips to help them get by in times of trouble.

"It's about teaching everyone how to cook the basics," she said.

"That's somehow got to be broken."

FIND has raised thousands of pounds to replace its current cramped base in Felixstowe Road and move to new headquarters, from which it can run its foodbank and provide other items such as white goods, beds and school uniforms for struggling families.

However remodelling the former sports changing rooms will cost £360,000 in total.

It has already raised a significant amount of money after launching the FIND 50 appeal to encourage schools, companies and other organisations to each raise £2,000.

But Mrs Reynel urged people to continue donating, as it still needs £160,000 to pay for the project and will need funding for ongoing running costs.

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