Foodbank helps hundreds

A CLEVEDON facility which provides food parcels to people in need has fed a staggering 325 people since opening in May.

Clevedon Foodbank was set up to provide supplies for those who find themselves in a situation which means they simply cannot feed them and their family.

From a unit at Hither Green Industrial Estate, volunteers sort donations of food into parcels which provide a three-day supply for a family.

Surprisingly for some, a high number of those needing help are in work but on low incomes.

Clevedon Foodbank steering group member Paul Gale said: “We are seeing quite a high proportion of families and we are certainly seeing an increase in the number of people using the foodbank.

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“It is not just people who are on benefits or are unemployed, we are seeing people particularly on low incomes having to come to us because they simply cannot make ends meet.

“People are trying to work and earn money and yet they still cannot afford enough food.

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“Benefit delay is also another problem. Particularly with the Government changing benefits, some of its departments are struggling with that.

“It is not uncommon to have people saying they are on benefits and will continue to be but have been told they have to wait up to six weeks before they can join the dots.”

During the school holidays the foodbank fed 60 people. As Christmas approaches and foodbank schemes gain more publicity volunteers expect demand to increase.

Paul added: “One of the things which may not be fully appreciated is how difficult it is to ask for food.

“People are coming here and they feel almost ashamed to ask for help.

“What I am finding is that no one takes this for granted. No one comes up the stairs without having to make a huge decision to do so.

“For people to be in a position where they simply cannot afford to feed themselves is a terrible situation.”

Foodbanks, which have been set up across the UK by The Trussell Trust, operate through a system which sees vouchers for a three-day food supply given to those in need by organisations and professionals including the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, social services, schools and doctors.

The Clevedon facility has distributors in Portishead and Nailsea and has also helped residents in Pill but it mostly serves those living in the Clevedon area.

Food donations can be taken to most churches in Clevedon which act as collection points for the facility.

The foodbank is run entirely by volunteers, including a nine-person steering group, and more volunteers are now needed to cope with demand.

Anyone interested in helping should call 07722 769529.

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