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Loan scheme helps with school holiday food shops

2023-06-06 13:40:10 source:The Washington Post author:Press center9 click:316order

A financial scheme which helps feed families in the school holidays gives parents hope, one mother has said.

Lisa-Marie Morris from Port Talbot is among thousands in Wales using an interest-free micro-loan providing up to £100 in credit for food.

Lender Fair For You said it has seen demand rise since the Iceland Food Club was set up with the supermarket chain.

With money tight, Ms Morris visits a number of supermarkets and works out where she can buy food the cheapest.

"It's quite difficult when you find that you can't work... and having bare minimum money," she said.

The mother-of-three, who worked as a tennis coach but had to quit because of health problems, said it means she struggles to fund extra meals needed for her children during the school holidays.

In order to keep costs low, she can visit three or four supermarkets looking to spend "the lowest amount of money possible while getting the most amount of food".

She has even done practice runs, putting everything needed in a shopping basket to work out the cost before shopping at "the cheapest one".

"If I'm doing a bulk shop, or I'm trying to save money, I will spend quite a few days and I'll go on Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Aldi - all the supermarkets," she added.

"I'll put everything I want in the basket and then I'll go through each one and find out where the cheapest one is."

Ms Morris said it has helped since using the food club set up by Fair For You, an ethical finance company, alongside Iceland, the Deeside-based supermarket chain.

"I often don't have £100 spare to go and do a food shop for half-term but with this I pay £10 a week so it's very manageable for me," she said.

Chris Bennett, from Fair For You, said it was approached by the supermarket giant because it noticed it was "losing a lot of customers during school holidays", largely because people were unable to "access funds to purchase food".

Fair For You researched possible solutions and the Iceland Food Club was launched last year.

"We're seeing a significant reduction, 92% either stopped or reduced their usage of food banks and a significant drop in the usage of loan sharks by about 80%," said Mr Bennett.

Meanwhile, demand for help is rising.

"We're seeing more people wanting to access our services than ever before," he added.

"These are people who haven't needed to access our services previously so we're definitely seeing a shift in the type of customers that are needing our sort of support - and we do see that trend continuing."

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