Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Rotherham families offered food fund

Struggling families in South Yorkshire are being offered help with their food bills through Christmas in a bid to stop people borrowing from loan sharks.

Rotherham Council is lending a credit union in the town £80,000 so people can borrow money, interest free, to buy food from a local supermarket.

Laser Credit Union will then issue food vouchers valued at £100 for families and £50 to individuals.

The council said the scheme would help those in need over the festive period.

'Right thing to do'

Carl Battersby, director of environment and development services at Rotherham Council, told the BBC the idea to arrange the loan came after suggestions from its welfare reform steering group.

"We're trying to do the best for our local people," said Mr Battersby.

"Clearly we're not quite sure what the demand and take-up will be but we think it's the right thing to do to help some of the most vulnerable people."

He added: "People are struggling to meet the cost of basic items, food being one of them. As a council we wanted to do something positive."

The vouchers can only be redeemed at Pak supermarket in Rotherham until 11 January and exclude cigarettes and alcohol.

Those who take up the offer will be required to pay back the money in weekly instalments of £5, starting from February 2013.

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