Iceland has launched an interest-free loan scheme in a bid to help customers struggling with the soaring cost of living.
The frozen foods retailer will now give customers the opportunity to take out interest-free ‘micro loans’ on a pre-loaded card between £25-£100 to cover their grocery shop.
The loans, organised in partnership with non-profit lending company Fair for You, can be used to purchase everyday items, all while enabling financially vulnerable customers to cover grocery bills or ‘smooth out gaps’ in their income.
Customers will be able to repay their loans in weekly payments of £10, with the option to overpay if convenient.
They will also have the freedom to set the day when the repayments have to be made.
Customers can only take out one loan at a time, during six windows throughout the year that coincide with school holidays – this is to ensure parents can keep their cupboards stocked during when free school meals aren’t an option.
Managing Director of Iceland Foods, Richard Walker, said: “More than ever, people are struggling to purchase much needed everyday items during this relentless cost of living crisis, and fresh thinking is required by business and government to find workable solutions.
“At Iceland, as part of our Doing It Right: Right Now, we’re constantly exploring new ways to help our customers with innovative solutions that deliver real impact.
“With Fair for You, we have rolled out Iceland Food Club to offer our customers even more support, helping them manage essential spending on their own terms.
“To those striving to worry less about how they will afford essential goods, this ethical credit scheme delivers real help when most needed and I believe it will make a valuable contribution to breaking the cycle of food poverty in this country.”
Simon Dukes, CEO of Fair for You, added: “Nobody should have to go hungry in order to feed their kids, or be forced into making impossible decisions between putting food on the table or having hot water.
“Our mission at Fair for You is to provide affordable credit to those who need it, to ensure they are not ripped off by exploitative lenders.
“We’re proud to be working with Iceland to operate the Iceland Food Club. Now that it has launched nationally, it gives plenty more families the opportunity to get the groceries they want, improve their diet and enjoy family meals together, while also getting a better handle on their finances.”
Peter Kay has been doing some ‘top secret’ gigs in Salford
‘It was the weirdest but best experience ever’
Peter Kay has been keeping busy this week with a string of ‘top secret’ comedy shows at a theatre in Salford.
People heading into the secluded shows at The Lowry were made to hand in their mobile phones prior to the gigs, and allegedly had to ‘whisper’ which show they were seeing when collecting their tickets.
Fans who were able to secure the tickets took to Twitter after the gig, with one person even saying it was the ‘best night of my life ever’.
Paula Bear, who admitted that she thought the gig was a ‘scam’ at first, wrote: “Omg just been to a secret gig with Peter Kay at The Lowry.
“Best night of my life ever, that guy is a legend. Phones in locked pounces, secret ticket collection, the lot.
Replying to someone’s question about the gig, Paula added: “It was the weirdest but best experience ever.
“He is just such a grounded fella. The gig was really raw and unpolished which was what made it so personal.”
The secret gigs have fuelled speculation that the Phoenix Nights star is preparing for a huge ‘come back’ tour in 2023.
A source close to the star said back in May: “He has lined up huge venues across the country including in Manchester, London and Birmingham and is hoping to announce it in September.
“Peter has not performed a live stand-up set on a big stage in well over a decade now but he could not be more ready to get back out there.”
Kay took a step back from comedy in 2018 after cancelling his live arena tour due to ‘unforeseen family circumstances’.
‘Lovely’ dad from Wigan died after struggling with mental health issues
The twenty-nine-year-old allegedly kept his emotions to himself in the wake of his mother’s death
A ‘lovely’ dad from Wigan died by suicide after a lengthy battle with mental health issues, an inquest has heard this week.
Dad-of-two Gareth Lancaster was found unresponsive at his home on Baytree Road, Beech Hill, at around 8pm on June 8th.
Emergency services were called and Gareth was rushed to Wigan Royal Infirmary, where he was taken into intensive care.
However, doctors suspected he had a severe brain injury, which was confirmed thirty-six hours after admission thanks to brain stem tests.
The decision was then made to withdraw life support.
Gareth, who worked as a plumbing and heating engineer, died on June 10th aged twenty-nine, with his cause of death recorded as hypoxic brain injury due to hanging.
According to his partner Tandia Constantine, Gareth – known among friends and family as ‘Gaz’ – was not the kind of person to seek help, and had kept his emotions to himself when his mother died from cancer.
Coroner Peter Sigee said a handwritten note was found at the scene, which he interpreted as ‘a statement of intent on Gareth’s behalf to end his life’.
He concluded that Gareth had died by suicide, saying he was satisfied that he intended to end his life.
During the hearing, Gareth was described as a ‘funny, hard-working and outgoing’ man who ‘doted’ on his two children and liked socialising with his family and friends.
After the hearing, Zena Ralphs, the mother of Gareth’s partner, said: “He was a lovely lad. He was the best lad you could ever meet, the hardest worker you could ever meet.
“His little ones have no daddy now.”
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, there are people out there you can talk to.
For confidential support the Samaritans can be contacted for free around the clock 365 days a year on 116 123. You can also email the Samaritans at email@example.com, write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA or visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.
You can also contact the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) at 0800 58 58 58 or via their website here.
Alternatively, you can find more mental health services around Greater Manchester on the NHS Foundation Trust website.
Asda cafe launches £1 winter meal deal for over 60s with unlimited tea and coffee
Diners will also be able to enjoy bottomless tea and coffee with their meal
Asda has launched a £1 meal deal in its cafes to help customers over the age of sixty with the cost of living crisis.
Throughout November and December, customers aged sixty and over will be able to get a bowl of soup, a roll, and unlimited tea and coffees for just £1 in its in-store cafes.
The supermarket is also running a ‘Community Cuppa’ campaign in its cafes by providing a warm space for those who may otherwise struggle to meet due to rising energy costs.
Spaces will be available on weekdays in November and December from 2pm to 6pm, and will offer all community group members unlimited free tea or coffee.
Asda co-owner Mohsin Issa said: “We know that this winter is set to be incredibly hard for thousands of pensioners as they worry about how to keep themselves warm in the face of rising living costs and a fixed income.
“We’ve already been able to serve over half a million meals through our Kids Eat for £1 initiative in our cafes and we’re hoping our new offer of soup and hot drinks for over 60s will prove just as impactful for those who need it most.
“Meanwhile, the cost of living grant programme led by Asda’s charity The Asda Foundation will support grassroots organisations who are providing a lifeline in their communities during these tough times.”
The supermarket’s charity, The Asda Foundation, will also be providing funding worth £500k to support community groups that are struggling with rising operating costs or increased demand for their vital services in the current climate.
This comes just months after the launch of Asda’s Just Essentials range, which boasts nearly 300 discounted products.
The range, which has been hailed as the ‘largest budget-friendly essentials range in the market’, contains 50% more low-cost items than the Smart Price range it replaced.
Discount products include fresh meat, fish and poultry, baked goods, frozen products and cupboard staples. There are also household essentials such as washing up liquid, shampoo and conditioner.
Find your closest Asda Cafe here.