Blackpool's Salvation Army helped three times as many people as before Covid as poverty grows

Blackpool’s Salvation Army team has been helping a record number of people as cost of living rises, job cuts due to coronavirus and universal credit cuts bite.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 14th January 2022, 12:30 pm

The organisation put together more than 2,000 Christmas present parcels for children and vulnerable people and handed out 420 food hampers to help people in poverty in Blackpool last month.

The corps in Raikes Parade, exceeded 2020’s Christmas Present Appeal figures of 1,700 in late November as families struggled to make ends meet from being pushed further into poverty due to job losses and reduced income.

The number of referrals in 2021 almost tripled compared to the pre-pandemic Christmas of 2019 when 750 children were supported.

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Captain Naomi Clifton from Blackpool's Salvation Army

Captain Naomi Clifton, joint leader of The Salvation Army in Blackpool said: “We are seeing that people are depending more and more on charity to help get them through day to day life with many living hand to mouth.

“Low paid jobs, zero-hour contracts, and the cost of living increasing are all factors that affect many within our town, especially those that rely on seasonal work.

“The pandemic has affected Blackpool tourism tremendously and we will continue to see the effects long into this year when those most vulnerable within our local community will need support from charities more than ever.”

The group said alongside the Christmas Present Appeal the church and charity put together and distributed 420 food hampers as the fallout from changes to Universal Credit, among other challenges, continue to make numbers of those in need soar.

The team at the Salvation Army's base in Raikes Parade

Captain Clifton added: “The local community helped us put smiles on the faces of over 2,000 children, and many more family members, and whilst this is a wonderful feeling it reinforces the stark truth that there is an enormous amount of need amongst us; all year round, not just at Christmas which we will sadly continue to see well into this year.”

The Salvation Army Blackpool said it was continuing to support some of the families it helped at Christmas with further food parcels as the rise in the cost of living and reduced incomes over the winter months continue with fuel bills due to rise in April.

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Capt Clifton outside the Grade 2 listed Citadel building in Blackpool where the Salvation Army works