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News Report Page 10 of 18
ublication Date:- 2019-09-14
News reports located on this page = 2.

Liverpool's summer lunch scheme feeds thousands of children

Helping Hands - Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson at the preparations for the Summer Lunch Club

A scheme devised to support vulnerable families over the summer holidays has provided up to 30,000 meals for children in need. Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson's Summer Lunch Club ran for the 6 week summer holidays at children's centres, community centres and other venues and aimed to provide children with a nutritious meal each weekday. The project aimed to provide children with a nutritious meal each weekday while the Schools were closed.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson invested ₤50,000 from the Mayor's Hope Fund into the scheme and enlisted the aid of local social enterprises and volunteers to deliver the food and activities. The sessions were free for anyone to attend but were particularly targeted at families who have been hit with delays and reductions in their benefit payments due to changes to the welfare system such as Universal Credit. The ultimate aim was to ensure that children did not go hungry during the summer holidays and could return to School ready to learn.

In south Liverpool, Garston-based community interest company Can Cook was tasked with providing 500 hot meals a day to supply 11 playgroups and activity sessions. While in the north of the City, Gourmet Social Enterprise recruited a network of volunteers, including many Council staff members, to provide packed lunches at children's centres and the Council's Lifestyles leisure centres.

The Summer Lunch Club builds on the work the Council and its partners does all year round to provide children with food during all School holidays. The Council now plans to build on the initiative through the Mayor's Inclusive Growth Fund. Cabinet members recently approved a plan to earmark ₤200,000 to help devise a sustainable food strategy for the City. This will include setting up a series of food collection points and community pantries across the City that will be used to support people and families facing extreme hardship.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who recently called for a 20% uplift in benefits to mitigate the impact of Brexit on the poorest, said:- "The stark reality is that austerity is starving our children and putting food on the table is now becoming a mission impossible for the most vulnerable members of our community. It is a travesty that people in this City continue to be hit so hard by cuts to their benefits that they are unable to feed themselves or their children. We have seen increases in the number of people using foodbanks and people in our City facing destitution because of cuts to benefits. It is a further outrage that the City Council has to pick up the pieces and divert already overstretched resources to provide food for people in need. However, we are not prepared to sit by and watch our children go hungry. The real success of the Summer Lunch Club lies in the wonderful spirit of the organisations and volunteers who could see the injustice of the situation the City faced, rolled their sleeves up and gave up their own time to pitch in and help those who needed it most. It once again illustrates how people in this City look out for each other and will not tolerate the suffering of others."

Laura Lynch Hankey, development manager at Can Cook, added:- "The hard work from our amazing chefs paid off with the families and young people across south Liverpool receiving a total of 14,500 fresh meals over the summer. The numbers engaging with centres increased and the feedback was overwhelming. It was lovely to be part of such a heart warming food dignity holiday program."

Councils examine setting up ethical bank to help the poorest

Finance: The new bank would service not just Liverpool but also Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria

LIVERPOOL is working with Wirral and Preston Councils driving forward a plan to create an ethical, Council led, Regional community bank which would help grow small and medium-sized businesses; and help low earners on to the housing ladder. The Council's Cabinet will consider a report which recommends due diligence begins on the establishment of the new financial organisation. If the business case for the bank; which would serve Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside; is proven, an expert will be recruited to lead it and recruit board members.

It is intended that the bank will have a social mission focused on:-

Serving the everyday financial needs of ordinary people with ordinary means, local community groups and small and medium sized companies.

► Help redress Regional inequalities, make financial inclusion the norm, build and store community wealth.

► Significantly increase the proportion of bank lending going to the 'real' (non financialised) economy and SME's instead of the financial economy.

► Build Regional economic resilience.

► Bring about a renaissance of customer service, relationship banking and mutual trust.

According to Bristol University, individuals on low incomes pay almost ₤500 a year in additional costs due to being prevented from accessing preferential deals from banks due to their income levels and credit history. This includes lack of access to a full current account, a necessity to use high-cost credit, living in perpetual overdraft debt and renting rather than buying household appliances.

The Community Savings Bank Association, which is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, is seeking to develop 19 Regional community banking models across the UK, with London and the South West already in the pipeline and Wales and some other Regions following close behind.

The Bank would need to approach potential social investors and Regional anchor institutions, that share the social and economic ethos of the mutual, to invest around ₤20 million of the share capital required. It is intended to hold a potential investor day together with Wirral and Preston Councils, once the appointment of the banking expert has been made.

Local banks supporting local businesses have been successful in Germany with around 70% of banking carried out by some 1,700 local co-operative banks.

The due diligence exercise will look at the potential financial return and the risks associated with the model but the initial case put to the Council would suggest returns of annual dividends of 7.5% could be achieved by year 5, with future increases related to share of profits.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "The banking system is failing the poorest people in our City and the public sector has a duty to step in and address this inequality which is hurting those who can afford it least. We know that some individuals and businesses are excluded from obtaining a basic level of service and that those that can have been impacted by branch closures and charges for using ATM's.  It is vital people already hit by welfare reforms have the freedom to pay for goods and services however they choose, and access to cash must be maintained for those that need it. There is a real opportunity here to provide mortgages for people who would not normally be able to get on the housing ladder, and create a market which provides opportunities for everyone."

Wirral Council's cabinet member for Finance and Resources, Cllr Janette Williamson, said:- "This is a direct way we as Llocal Authorities can tackle major issues facing our communities; from financial exclusion and allowing the least well off to access loans and mortgages, to helping our small cash based businesses needing somewhere to deposit their takings; protecting and even boosting the local economy. We want to step in to provide the service the high street banks are failing to provide as they focus on their most valuable customers and shut branches where many of our residents actually need them most. This will be an ethical bank and will be a presence in our communities. Not having a bank account means the least well off face higher charges, are unable to access savings for utilities such as those available through paying by direct debit, and really brings home the phrase 'it costs more to be poor'."

Leader of Preston City Council, Councillor Matthew Brown said:- "I believe the current system we have for banking and finance in this country, is broken. There is a vast inequality and we currently have banks which are much happier lending to each other, than they are in lending to people who need it and importantly to small businesses. This community bank would enable the financially excluded; people and businesses who find it difficult to borrow money; to get access to banking services. It would help to serve the North West plus generate and retain wealth within the Preston and wider economy. Unlike our European counterparts we have never had Regional cooperative banks in the UK and this will be 1 of the 1st. We need a bank that cares for its communities. The current system does not do this and we want to give people a credible alternative."

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