Mustard Tree’s Round-Up

The real rise in inflation

Sometimes this round-up will be morose, distressing, even heartbreaking – we feel we need to share real accounts and difficult news to convey how difficult everyday living can be at times.

We also strive to celebrate success, and illustrate how your donations and support can help alleviate some of the hardship people may be facing at the moment.

Tougher Sanctions for Jobseekers

Under new government rules, people who are newly unemployed and in receipt of Universal Credit payments will have just four weeks to find work ‘within their preferred sector’, before having part of their payments withdrawn.

“The new rules mean sanctions could be imposed four weeks after they make their initial claim for universal credit – in theory, even before they receive their first benefit payment”1

Reacting to the news, our CEO Jo Walby says “we are in contacted with DWP locally to better understand the impact of this announcement. We have supported the regional DWP teams in their dedicated and fair interpretations of central government rules and work in partnership to support those most vulnerable”.

Mustard Tree helps Freedom trainees and clients learn new skills, secure work placements and find work. If you know anyone who may be adversely affected by these changes, you can submit a referral to help someone get support from our team.

Jo added “this announcement on the surface looks potentially devastating to those with additional barriers and so we will need to work together to put our clients’ welfare first”.

Canned spaghetti. Was 13p, now 35p. An increase of 169%

Last week, a Twitter thread by former foodbank user Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) went viral for their criticism of how cost of living increases are presented to the public.

“The system by which we measure the impact of inflation is fundamentally flawed – it completely ignores the reality and the REAL price rises for people on minimum wage, zero hours contracts, food bank clients and millions more” – Jack Monroe

The thread suggests that an average rise in inflation of 5% is not representative of much larger food cost increases – disproportionately hitting those on the lowest incomes the hardest.

Food banks aren’t free

What does this mean for Mustard Tree? A rise in the cost of living pushes more families and individuals into food poverty. This leads to more people needing to access our Food Clubs – resulting in an increase in food costs for our charity.

Although we stock our Food Clubs with donations from our supporters – the current demand means we must turn to wholesalers and other food suppliers to purchase a large percentage of our Food Clubs’ stock.

Supporters can help keep our food costs down by organising food collections. We need money as well! If you can – you can donate through our Bankuet platform, and share this post to spread the word – thank you.

EDIT: The ONS has since reviewed the concerns and acknowledge that “every person had their own inflation rate and it would do more to capture the impact of price increases on different income groups”.

The Power of Partnerships

Our partnerships value embodies ‘working together to build strong relationships based on mutual trust’. Your support enables us to support people like Maria through referrals to our Community Shop furniture and Food Club.

Working with other organisations such as Motiv8 and Irwell Valley Homes can extend our impact and enable us to work with more people in different ways.

“I have also received support from some wonderful people and organisations, including Shelter, (one of Motiv8’s specialist partners) – I would probably have been evicted without their help, Mustard Tree for food and furniture, Citizens Advice and Shelter for benefit advice”. – Maria

You can help make a house a home by donating your pre-loved furniture via our website, or calling 0161 228 7331 Monday – Friday.

Meanwhile, our friends at JD dropped off one of their regular clothing donations for our Community Shop.

People that are living on the street or seeking asylum can receive £15 – £20 credit to spend in our shops – towards new clothing each month, giving dignity to those who may not have regular access to showers. Thank you so much to everyone who brings clothing donations to us!

Little Hulton Works

If you’ve been by our Little Hulton hub this week, you’ll have noticed some repair work taking place. Don’t worry – our shop and support services are still open as usual, so please come in and say hello!

A recent Manchester Evening News article focused on the challenges of the area – where we are looking to provide opportunity in this exciting refurbished space in 2022 – watch this space for some exciting developments.

Final Word

We’re creeping towards 300 reviews on Google, with a 4.5 star average. Thank you to everyone who sings our praises and shares the word about our work – including Daz below – who we think is from Manchester…

You can leave your own Google review for Mustard Tree by clicking this link.

Have a wonderful weekend.