'Why's my life like this?' Leicester's struggles with a year of Covid

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With high infection rates and many people relying on food banks, the city has suffered more than most

The clock ticks past midday. At first it is just a trickle, mainly Gujarati Indian women in brightly coloured saris, some alone, others with young children. But within 30 minutes there is a queue of people wrapping itself around the Methodist church and down a sidestreet. This is a scene that has repeated itself three times a week, every week, since the beginning of the pandemic 12 months ago.

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They are at Wesley Hall community centre in Leicester to collect food parcels. Today is a good day: even though the weather is blustery and rain streaks across the street, the queue is mercifully moving quickly. Volunteers check details and people fill their canvas shopping trolleys and return home to their waiting families. Other days aren’t so good: it is much busier and they wait for hours. Sometimes they are so cold they open their hot meal of rice, yellow split-pea dal and a chappati and eat while still standing outside the building.

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