Bournemouth food bank is expecting a busy Christmas after the number of people needing its services grew by 25% over the past year.
The charity, which helps feed those under the poverty line, serves up to 200 people and distribute over two tonnes of food a week around Bournemouth.
Project director, Debbie Bramley, says that Universal Credit has had a big impact since its introduction in November last year.
Ms Bramley believes that a prominent issue is that those who are currently on legacy benefits are expected to manage on a basic living allowance for five weeks, as they await their first payment.
She says: “A five week wait is horrific, it has caused a lot of problems” and there has been an impact because “we’re having to support them for longer.”
She also claims the application being online can be tough for people with learning difficulties and can lead to unfair sanctioning such as reduction or withdrawal of funds.
There has to be a different way of doing it.
It has also affected Bournemouth’s homeless population: Sheena Reed from Hope For Food says its client base “has increased” since its introduction, she states that it may not be solely due to Universal Credit but it’s “in that time period.”
However, Debbie Bramley says: “There isn’t a problem with monthly payments as long as there’s support with budgeting” and she thinks that once someone is set up completely “it will be better and beneficial to them.”