The Christmas period can be an exciting time for many, full of expectation and all things glittery. For many others though it can be a time of increased pressure and isolation. Many of the young people and families we are connected with, will struggle for a range of reasons over the ‘festive’ time. I’ve just looked up a definition of ‘festive’: ‘cheerful and jovially celebratory’. 

Many families dread the season. The marketing onslaught that begins at the end of summer and ‘ramps up’ throughout December, advertising the toys you should be buying your children, the huge perfectly cooked turkey and luxury foods, the ‘Colgate – beautiful’ family scenes of happiness. Spend, spend, spend. The Government constantly reminds us that more people are employed than ever before. Surprising then, that despite the claims of great news, over the last four years an ADDITIONAL 700,000 people (300,000 of them children) have slipped into relative poverty. Genuinely struggling to make ends meet, constantly juggling rent, food, debt payments and basic clothing.

Have a read:

We know that those who struggle are not confined to inner cities. Across Devon and the wider South West, increasing numbers within our communities are facing hardship and will continue to do so as policies of benefit cuts, encouragement of exploitative employment practices and withdrawal of support services, embed themselves.

We already work alongside many services who strive to alleviate some of those pressures and are always seeking to work with new services who share our values and aspirations. I’m really proud that we’ve played a key role in seeing Foodbank collection points established DCC premises.

Developing this piece of work has certainly focussed my mind and reminded me how fortunate I am.

I’m hoping that other Councils will be following this example. Many of you know your local foodbank operators and also know key officers/politicians in district, city, town and borough councils. If you get the opportunity, float the idea.

Right, I’m off to try and find a radio station not fixated on the same 30 Christmas songs I’ve been pummelled with for as long as I can remember…..

Kev Henman – CEO