Gorleston vicar tells of families in lockdown crisis
Revd Matthew Price, who leads a food bank in Gorleston, along with Jon Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk, and Sir Norman Lamb, former North Norfolk MP, have been discussing the possible impacts of the second lockdown.
They have warned that the second national lockdown will leave some of society’s most vulnerable people facing loneliness and anxiety and struggling to make ends meet.
Reverend Matthew Price, pictured above, who leads a food bank from St Mary Magdalene church in Gorleston, said he is expecting to see a “steady rise” in people using the facility, and there is a real danger of people going hungry.
“There is a group of people, vulnerable families, who just about cope with life, but this year’s pandemic has kicked them over the edge,” he said. “I’ve spoken to three families who had nothing left in their cupboards, nothing left to feed the children that day. They were in crisis and they rang us. After people reach the point of absolute crisis they reach out to us, otherwise they would be going hungry.”
Sir Norman Lamb, who last year set up a mental health and wellbeing fund, said a rise in anxiety is predictable, considering the twin impact of the pandemic and recession, and is calling on the government to establish a resilience task force. He said that unemployment, fear of unemployment, fear of debt, isolation, loneliness, are all factors that increase the risk of descent into diagnosable mental ill health.
Jon Clemo pointed out that some people, particularly in the shielding category, will either be reluctant to go outside or be more anxious, and will be more likely to need additional support to cope with loneliness and isolation. It is not clear whether businesses will continue to employ people on a furlough basis, or say that jobs are no longer long-term viable.
This story is based on an article that appeared in the Watton and Swaffham Times.