Derbyshire: Food banks will help in local fight against poverty
Food bank collection points have been introduced in around 40 Derbyshire County Council libraries, offices and public buildings to make it easier for residents to make a donation.
The County Council has launched the project as part of its commitment to improving health, tackling poverty, helping vulnerable residents and supporting people on low incomes.
Residents are invited to drop off food from an approved list of items which will be shared out from each collection point between food banks in that particular area.
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor, Dave Allen, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to donate food and our libraries and many of our offices are in visible town centre locations with convenient opening hours.
“Food banks are facing increasing pressure as more people turn to them for help due to the rising cost of living, low incomes, delays or changes to benefits and unemployment, and they even featured in a recent Coronation Street storyline.
“Lack of proper nutrition not only has a huge impact on people’s physical and mental health but also on the health and council support services they increasingly have to rely on if the situation is not addressed and that’s why we’re taking action.”
Earlier this year, local food banks benefitted from a share of £126,000 County Council funding to help them cope with increased demand.
Nineteen of the county’s 22 food banks applied and were awarded grants to help them feed more people by buying fridges and storage boxes, covering additional volunteer and vehicle running costs as well as paying for training, administration and rent.
Councillor Allen added: “It’s not just about donating – we’re also keen to encourage more people to volunteer to help out.
“You don’t need any special skills, just need to be aged over 16, enthusiastic and willing to help. It’s a great way for teenagers or people wanting to develop their skills to get volunteering on their CV and for anyone with some spare time to help in their community.”
Posters and leaflets have been placed with collection boxes in all collection points to explain the scheme and how to get involved.
According to figures released by the UK’s biggest food bank network, The Trussell Trust, the number of people relying on food banks to survive has tripled over the last year.
Figures for Clay Cross Foodbank alone show that over the last year it fed 2,557 residents compared with 944 in 2012 - an increase of 171%.
More than 910,000 people in the UK received at least three days emergency food from Trussell Trust food banks over the last year – compared to 347,000 the year before.
Food banks provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis. To receive a food parcel, residents need to be referred to a food bank from children’s centres, GPs, schools, the probation service, Citizens Advice Bureau, Derbyshire police or a range of other advice agencies.
Most of the food is donated by local people or provided by UK charity FareShare which distributes surplus ‘fit for purpose’ products from the food and drink industry, including major supermarkets, to community organisations. They are run by charities and non-profit organisations and mainly run by volunteers.
Items can be left and any County Council collection point or directly at local food banks.
Residents can find their local branch at www.advicederbyshire.org
For more information about Derbyshire County Council’s work to support local food banks, visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/foodbanks