By Teresa, Gleaning Logistics
Poverty in Cornwall is escalating at a rapid rate. The divide between rich and poor is one of the highest in the country. Hidden among the glamour of this sought after holiday destination is the stark reality of disproportionally high costs of living, coupled with lack of affordable housing and low paid seasonal work
The number of organisations feeding people in need and the rise in working people who are now homeless, living in shelters, vehicles, sofa surfing and even on the street, is escalating at pace and a direct result of the housing crisis and exasperated by the cost of living crisis.
According to The Trussell Trust, in 2021, the number of organisations providing food aid in Cornwall had jumped from 20 to 180 in just seven years. In the twelve month period from April 2022 to March 2023 over 36,000 emergency food parcels were distributed by Trussell Trust Foodbanks in Cornwall alone, over 12,000 of those were for children under the age of 16. (March 22)
These food parcels tend to contain low nutrition staples like rice, pasta, cereals and tinned goods. The supplementing of these food parcels with fresh, gleaned fruit and vegetables ensures a much needed level of nutrition.
Poverty is well-documented in the towns of Redruth, Camborne and Pool. Reports have suggested that this part of the county is the second-most deprived region in Northern Europe and that, because of this poverty, before the UK’s departure from the European Union, Cornwall received more EU funding than any other area of the country. That funding has now gone and we see the often hidden, rural poverty across the majority of Cornwall, with true figures skewed by large differences in incomes. A few earn a great deal, while the majority earn well below the average and the much of Cornwall’s income ends up outside the county.
We house a high number of people over 65, have very high housing, transport and fuel costs. Work is often seasonal and though the Cornish are an extremely proud nation more are unhappily turning to handouts.
We hear regularly from people and organisations we deliver food to how more and more are finding that their wages and or benefits don’t cover their basic needs. That they have cut every little bit of extra expenditure and yet still they can’t afford a roof over their heads, their bills or to eat properly.