Foodbank needs to expand to keep up with demand
By Prue_Reid | Friday, February 22, 2013, 13:56
A FOODBANK in Weston-super-Mare is to expand following a demand for its services.
Could you help the foodbank meet a growing demand?
The town's community foodbank launched in August 2011 and is run by the Lighthouse Project and supported by the resort's Churches Together Group and the Trussell Trust which supports foodbanks across the UK.
The initiative was set up after it was identified that there are large numbers of people, including the elderly, homeless and vulnerable, living in poverty in the seaside resort.
It is run by local residents Ian and Sarah Frazer who moved to Weston in 2011 and who soon realised there were large sections of the community struggling to make ends meet.
Last year the foodbank, which is based in the former Bakers Dolphin ticket office at Pier Square, helped an average of 25 families and individuals a week, handing out an average of one tonne of food a month.
But over the last three months as belts continue to tighten, the demand on the service has increased and in December last year it handed out 1.5 tonnes of food to 190 people and in January gave out two tonnes of food to 176 people.
Mr Frazer said he expected demand on the service to continue to mount, particularly when welfare reforms come into force in April and many people will see their benefits reduced.
Mr Frazer said: "We are seeing more and more families and individuals referred to us and anticipate the demand may more than double again by April with the welfare reforms.
"It could be possible that we could be handing out up to four tonnes of food a month.
"There are already a lot of people struggling to make ends meet and we have already outgrown our capacity of where we are currently based.
"We have been searching for new premises but they need to be in the town centre and accessible to people."
The foodbank opens on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 12noon and 2pm and is run by a team of volunteers.
Volunteers work with partner organisations, such as Age Concern, social services, drug and alcohol support groups, Citizens Advice and North Somerset Housing, to identify individuals and families in need.
People in need of help are issued with a voucher by one of the agencies which they can take to the Foodbank three times a year in exchange for groceries.
Food collections are carried out by local churches and schools and at supermarkets across the town.
People can donate items such as
pasta, rich, tea, coffee, soup, tinned food such as beans and fruit and long life milk as well as sugar, cereal, concentrated juice and tinned meat.
Donations can be taken to local churches including Milton Baptist, St Paul's Church, Worle and the foodbank itself.
Anyone who wants to help or who has a larger premises for the foodbank can call Mr Frazer
on 01934 625418.