Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn learnt first-hand the issues people in Morecambe face on a visit to the town.
Mr Corbyn sat round a table with volunteers from Stanley’s youth and community centre in the West End and partner organisations such as Lancaster Boys and Girls Club and Sustainability Morecambe.
He was told of a child who came into Stanley’s who was so hungry they had taken food out of a bin and heard from a man who has been sanctioned by the DWP and hasn’t received any benefits since May.
Robyn Thomas, project manager at Stanley’s, said: “We had a child who came into Stanley’s who had been so hungry they were getting food out of a bin.
“Also Tom Marshall, who has done a lot of work with The Melting Pot, has fallen foul of the system as he is currently sanctioned.”
Tom Marshall, founder of The Melting Pot, which is based at upstairs at Stanley’s said: “We are a hands on collaborative music group of people who came together to try and make things happen in the West End of Morecambe.
“We provide space, time and facilities to people who are interested in making friends, building confidence and learning new tricks and techniques.
“I have been sanctioned since May 19. I was told to click a box to accept my commitments, I had to click the box but no-one told me. The system is run by a computer and has no knowledge of a human being. The government just want to make people into slaves.”
Linda Smalley, community member and co-founder of Sustainability Morecambe said: “I’d like to see a whole network of food clubs because they are brilliant on lots of different levels.
“t’s not just about food poverty, it’s about social isolation and feeling they are part of a community and can contribute to it.
“It’s about keeping food out of landfills and building communities.
“The big thing about it is it destigmatises, people have enough shame and stigma so we don’t emphasis food poverty.”
Speaking to The Visitor, Jeremy Corbyn said: “I have been to Morecambe in the past but not recently.
“I came to Lancaster last year. I came to Morecambe last night and had a run along the promenade this morning and said hello to Eric! It was lovely.
“I also bought a teapot in the British Heart Foundation charity shop whilst I was here!
“Coastal towns like Morecambe face huge challenges, the traditional two week holidays are now taken abroad. It’s now more weekend conferences and big visits.
“Improvements can be made especially to the rail network and special events like Morecambe Carnival this weekend help.
“Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming.”