Food bank project to provide a ‘safety net’

Food bank supplies
Food bank supplies

A GROUP is looking to set up a food bank in Todmorden to help families and individuals who are struggling financially in difficult economic times.

The Todmorden Food Bank is in the early stages of development and has received a £1,400 grant from the town council to fund the start-up period of the project.

Todmorden town and ward councillor Jayne Booth, who is on the project’s steering group, said the food bank could provide a safety net for families and individuals in times of crisis.

“In January, we will look at funding streams and different food bank models,” she said.

“This should equip us with the knowledge required to enable us to identify grants, develop and recruit volunteers, identify food souces for the project and deliver the service effectively.

“It is essential that we get our model right in order to meet the needs of our most needy citizens.

“We have looked at other food bank models but are keen to cut the bureaucracy and get the initiative up and running during the winter months when people can become more isolated and anxious.”

The Todmorden Food Bank project has received support from councillors, St Mary’s Church and the Wildwood Centre, on Burnley Road, which has been suggested as a possible base due its central and accessible location.

Coun Booth said it is sad that in 2012 society has seen the growth of food banks as austerity measures start to impact on many people.

“We want to support people of all ages who may feel isolated and lonely or may not qualify for welfare benefits,” she said.

“We want to get a community spirit and make people feel not like they are asking for charity but that they are part of a community.”

Coun Margareta Holmstedt, who is also backing the project, said the issue of people not being able to afford food is a huge problem.

“We are doing something which, as far as I know, no other food bank does, which is really try to find out why this happens to people,” she said.

“It will be really interesting to see the results of this once we get it started.”

Anybody wanting to find out more is invited to attend the Todmorden ward forum on Tuesday, December 18, when Coun Booth will give a talk about the Todmorden Food Bank project.

Research carried out by The Trussell Trust shows that a record number of people in the North West turned to food banks in the last six months because they cannot afford to feed themselves.

The charity fears that rises in food and fuel bills this winter could force more people into a crisis where they cannot afford to eat.