School opens its own foodbank over Universal Credit hunger fears

A school in Middlesbrough has revealed that is launching its own “pop-up foodbank”, over fears that the introduction of Universal Credit in the region will leave children hungry as parents are made to wait several weeks for an initial payment.

Universal Credit, which replaces six legacy benefits including tax credits and housing benefit with one single monthly payment, is being roll-out across Teeside despite criticism of the new system and growing evidence that it will leave millions of households in the UK worse off.

School opens its own foodbank over Universal Credit hunger fears

Craig Wright, assistant principal of the Outwood Academy, told TeesideLive: “We will be launching a pop-up foodbank to coincide with the roll-out of Universal Credit.

“We know that Universal Credit will affect our families in our community and the six-week wait especially will mean lots of our families will suffer in that time with a lack of resources.

“We’re launching a pop-up foodbank which will help to meet their needs in whatever way we can.”

The school, which teaches almost 700 pupils, intends to run it every Friday for six weeks at the back of the sports hall from 3.30pm.

Angela Sweeten, principal, said: “We don’t want hungry children.

“We hope that we can get as much support as possible.

“It will be anonymously done so there will be no issue in regard to anyone feeling uncomfortable about coming and getting it.

“We just genuinely want to make sure that the children of this Academy and the children of our local feeder primaries as well are fed throughout the time when money is going to be a significant issue to many.”

Mrs Sweeten said that 65% of children at the academy are on free school meals and the roll-out of Universal Credit could hit families of children at the school.

She added: “Our concern was we will have families with no provision for potentially six weeks. This is about our community.

“Every thing we do is about sustainability, our day-to-day work is about raising children’s aspirations.”

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