New £50k fund will help to feed people struggling to buy food

St Catherine's Church food bank is experiencing a massive surge in demand due to changes to the benefits system. Compared to last year demand is up by 2300%. for the first time ever they are also seeing employed people and pensioners asking for help. Centre manager Lisa Grant in the church food store. (W541B338)
St Catherine's Church food bank is experiencing a massive surge in demand due to changes to the benefits system. Compared to last year demand is up by 2300%. for the first time ever they are also seeing employed people and pensioners asking for help. Centre manager Lisa Grant in the church food store. (W541B338)

Wakefield Council has set up a £50,000 fund to help families in crisis.

The fund will provide vital resources for food banks and other forms of food provision, and will run until March 2016.

Food banks can apply for up to £1,500 to buy supplies and equipment or use the money to pay for running costs.

It comes as more working families across the district are struggling to put food on their tables.

There are currently 13 food banks in the city, 10 run by churches and community groups and three which operate in partnership with the Trussell Trust.

St Catherine’s Church on Doncaster Road, Agbrigg, distributed food worth approximately £50,000 last year.

Centre manager Lisa Grant said: “We provided 224 emergency food parcels in the past fortnight, which is more than before.

“It is an alarming rate the amount of people coming to us for help and it is right across the board.

“We have working families coming to us who can’t make ends meet.”

The food bank handed out 3,012 parcels in 2014 compared to 1,822 the previous year.

It also gave out 64 parcels to families last Christmas.

Mrs Grant said they expect to see the number of families coming to them for help to continue to increase.

She said: “We try to help break the cycle by referring people to different agencies or help them find work but we are still seeing new families coming to us.

“The money from the council will make a huge difference because the demand is growing all the time.”

Wakefield Council’s service director communities Antony Sadler said: “We have helped develop a network between the district’s food banks so that we can all work as a collective.

“It is essential that we share ideas and pull together to ensure that the valuable lifeline offered by the food banks reaches the people who need to the most.

“The funding which was first made available last year and runs until March 2016 is there to help the food banks with set up and running costs and to buy stock.”