Monday, 10 March 2014

BBC Radio Cumbria in Trouble - again

You'd have thought that the BBC would want to bring us positive stories. Particularly ones that tell us of people who have struggled and been helped through hardship -

 for instance a story that was passed on to me from London:

A Taxi driver's wife ran off with his car so that he could no longer ply his trade, which led to depression, the loss his home, living in a shed, being without food. Helped by a Foodbank, then picking himself, growing his own food and finally regaining his self esteem and getting a home of his own again. A credit to human fight back.

But no, the BBC reporter from Radio Cumbria when they interviewed the Foodbank at Barrow recently, was only interested in a 'hard' story. Of all the things that could have been asked about  they picked one about what might have been going wrong rather about all the things that were going right. Only one question was asked. I couldn't believe it:

"What instances of fraud existed in the distribution of the food?"
And even when they got the answer, "Extremely little" they couldn't accept it.

"How can you be sure?" They had to go on. "Because the people that receive the food are only approved by people that know their needs personally, and then only three days emergency supply is given"

That was it. No chance to talk about all the positive work this hard working team of dedicated people put in. How volunteers who started by offering just ten hours a week, then felt the need to put in six days a week because they saw that someone needed them to do this if an efficient service for disadvantaged people in our area was to be provided. No question that enquired about the efficiency of the operation. How the shelves are lined with baskets and baskets and baskets of food to suit different sizes of families so that on Friday last 14 families were helped. How this is provided in supermarket bags so that the public wouldn't be able to spot that the food was in reality a hand out. Many receiving the free food are ashamed that they've been brought so low. How freezers are being used to take advantage of large quantities of excellent bread that would otherwise would go to waste from a market stall every week. Bread that was on sale one minute on a Saturday afternoon was wrapped and in a freezer ten miles away only an hour later in our Foodbank. My what a slick operation we have!

There were lots of tales to be told of how successful the Barrow Foodbank is being and how it enabling some to claw their way back up to self respect and a more positive outlook.

The dedicated helpers at our Foodbank know that they are providing an essential service . They know that there are lots of 'soft' stories to be had. It sickens them that the only interest shown by the media, like the BBC, that we all think would give us good reporting chooses to denigrate the hard work of wonderful people by going on a witch hunt for errors in the operation. Errors that just aren't there. In future let's have some decent reporting . Stories that will encourage those that are positive . Stories we'd all like to hear about because it will put a Spring in our step to think how well a group of dedicated volunteers are coping with a very real need.

No this isn't the first time the BBC has been in trouble. A similar pattern has been observed in my contact with them. My friends and I now refuse to give them an interview because the outcome makes them angry and gives a completely distorted story. In this case the Evening Mail has given a far more balanced and positive view.


Geoff Dellow said...

This is the attitude that reporting as described above produces "One day you will come down out of your Ivory Tower, discard your rose coloured specs and come to the realisation (long overdue) that the world is full of swindling, feckless chiselling bastards."

Could this possibly an exaggeration?

When can we come to a more positive view of the world if we are all brain washed into thinking negatively.

The social workers who work with the beneficiaries in this area will tell you that Food is only approved of in cases of extreme need and then only three days of supplies. It comes hand in hand with the support needed to help get these people back on their feet again.

Let's understand Life for some IS tough. It may be a mind set but getting out of that mind set requires encouragement from real people who instill a positive attitude to life - people like creative teachers who promote tough love.

On our part we can do with being more positive ourselves. At this very minute help is needed in Mill Dam Park if SLDC are going to be prevented from ruining what was becoming a much used and appreciated park. Negative thinking on the part of deskpots who think nothing but stupid "Health and Safety" that ignores the mind and instills the real killer - frustration and depression.

Geoff Dellow said...

Critics of the scheme ignore that in the case of the bread it would be thrown away. Anyone brought up in the last world war, as I was, finds it difficult to watch superb food thrown away.