Food Bank Britain by Ray Barron Woolford

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Food Bank Britain by Ray Barron Woolford

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Category: Politics and Society
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The truth behind the growth of food banks in the UK from an activist who speaks from the heart. You should read this - honestly.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Deptford Heritage Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0993080913

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One morning Ray Barron Woolford watched as a smartly-dressed young man foraged in waste bins for food, less than a mile from the riches of the City of London. Intrigued as to what was going on he went to ask. The man explained to him that he'd just got a job after two years of being unemployed, but it would be five weeks before he was paid. He couldn't claim benefits as he was in work and had no savings, so the bins had to be his source of food and by the following week he would have to walk to work as he couldn't afford the fares. That was the inspiration for the We Care Food Bank.

Woolford is an activist and feels deeply about what is happening to people. He knows that they're not scroungers but people who have dropped through what safety nets now exist and are forced to forage in bins or go hungry - and many people do go hungry on the basis that there are certain payments which have to be made, such as rent and utilities, before they can afford food. He knows about the children of the self-employed who can't get free school meals whose parents keep them off school 'sick' because they can't afford the food to put in their lunch boxes. And there are sadder stories than those.

He's vitriolic about the refusal of many employers to pay a living - as opposed to the minimum wage - and points out that most of the employees on the minimum wage will need to claim housing benefit so that companies are paying their shareholders at the expense of the taxpayer, who is - in effect - subsidising the company and their shareholders. He's scathing about the waste of food running into billions of pounds a year when people are going hungry. But he's not just vitriolic and scathing - he's put his money and his effort where his mouth is and done something about it. He's the founder of the We Care Food Bank which provides food for families and their pet, toiletries (imagine not being able to afford loo roll - go on, just think about it) and cleaning materials.

It's a short book and it really won't take you long to read it, but you'll need to do an awful lot of thinking about what is happening and the inequalities in our society. The book is perhaps a little raw in its writing and presentation of facts, but you're not reading this book for its literary merit - you're reading this because it's important that you understand what is really going on. Perhaps when enough people understand we'll be able to explain it to our politicians, many of whom seem to be willfully blind.

I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy of this book to the Bookbag.

Something else that's deeply wrong in our society is the way that the banks act. You can find our more in Criminal Capital: How the Finance Industry Facilitates Crime by Stephen Platt. Those looking to start their own business will find a lot of help in Make it Happen: The Prince's Trust Guide to Starting Your Own Business by The Prince's Trust. You might also like to see Feeding Frenzy: The New Politics of Food by Paul McMahon.

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Buy Food Bank Britain by Ray Barron Woolford at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Food Bank Britain by Ray Barron Woolford at


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