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Britannia pub collects 'generous donations' for Islington Food Bank

PUBLISHED: 12:35 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:27 21 January 2019

Supplies donated at the Britannia pub for Islington Food Bank. Picture: Cllr Troy Gallagher

Supplies donated at the Britannia pub for Islington Food Bank. Picture: Cllr Troy Gallagher

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An Old Street publican is urging the community to make more "generous donations" to his new collection point for Islington Food Bank.

Cllr Troy Gallagher (left), Ray O'Halloran and Britannia publican Brendan Cluskey (right) standing by the food bank donation point. Picture: BritanniaCllr Troy Gallagher (left), Ray O'Halloran and Britannia publican Brendan Cluskey (right) standing by the food bank donation point. Picture: Britannia

Brendan Cluskey, 60, is encouraging customers give supplies to the Ronalds Road food bank via his Britannia Pub, in Ironmonger Row.

The initiative started as a one-off to help people before Christmas, but Brendan has now pledged to continue the collection point all year-round.

“Poverty is not just happening at Christmas,” he told the Gazette. “It’s happening all year around and if we can give something back to the community we would like to do that.

“Whatever is given, we would hope to match it. We had a great response in December but unfortunately it seems to have died down a bit, so we need to make people more aware it’s here.”

Cllr Troy Gallagher and Kathy Weston from Islington Food Bank outside Islington Town Hall. Picture: Islington CouncilCllr Troy Gallagher and Kathy Weston from Islington Food Bank outside Islington Town Hall. Picture: Islington Council

Reflecting on the Christmas donations, Cllr Troy Gallagher (Lab, Bunhill), added: “The support and generosity was really touching and Islington Food Bank was astounded and grateful – most of the people who get it will be on Universal Credit.”

Universal Credit [UC] is the government’s flagship welfare reform combing six benefits into one online only monthly payment. Islington Food Bank does not collect data on how many people were on UC but did say more people now cited low wages as a reason for needing help than those who blamed benefit delays or cuts.

Cllr Gallagher added: “Britannia has also now committed to having an ongoing collection for food bank all year round to answer my call for everyone to do their bit for our community in any way they can, however small, to help those in need due to damaging austerity and effects of universal credit impoverishing people on a daily basis.

“To think UK is the fifth richest nation and people, including working people, need to rely on food banks in 21st century Britain is shameful and disgraceful.”

Islington Food Bank also accepts collections every Monday and Saturday throughout the year at Highbury Roundhouse Youth and Community Centre, between 1pm and 4pm.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Universal Credit [UC] simplifies an out-of-date, complex system with evidence showing that claimants are getting into work faster and staying in work longer.”

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