Food bank talks off to a ‘positive start’

Rosemary Biggin, David Hartley, Trish Pepper and Suzanne Hawthorn who appealing for food for the new food bank for West Craven.
Rosemary Biggin, David Hartley, Trish Pepper and Suzanne Hawthorn who appealing for food for the new food bank for West Craven.

Talks held last Monday to discuss the potential launch of a food bank in West Craven have been hailed as a “positive start”.

The meeting at the New Road Community Centre in Earby was attended by 32 people, largely from church members and the wider public from West Craven, but also from Nelson and Skipton too.

Talks focused on how a food bank would be operated and which model of food bank could be used best in West Craven, or whether it would be better to join forces with an existing food bank in a neighbouring town.

A management committee of six has been set up to progress thoughts and ideas and make recommendations which are set to be returned within four to six weeks.

David Hartley, Chairman of the Earby and District Churches’ Together Group, said he had been “really pleased” with the turnout and the way in which early discussions had developed.

Mr Hartley said: “It went better than we ever could have expected. We had set up for about 14 at 7pm but by the time we had got to 20 to eight, 32 people had arrived.

“It was a good first meeting which had a generated a tremendous amount of interest from terrific range of people.

“What was really great was that we ended up 32 people who all had something to say and some with knowledge of food banks elsewhere.

“I think it’s fair to say we didn’t have too many people who wanted to take on a management position but a lot were willing to be volunteers as foot soldiers if you like and offered to help in any way they could.

“Suzanne Hawthorn (from the Majestic Church, Barnoldswick) had obviously put a heck of a lot of work into it already and she has done a brilliant job of getting everybody involved.”

The meeting had been set up as after talks between the Hope Barlick church group identified the possible need for a food bank and then the Earby Churches’ Together group was approached.

In June, one West Craven church received a note on a collection plate after a Sunday service which simply stated “we need food, we haven’t eaten” while another church has handed out food twice in the last month.

Chris Mould, Executive Chairman of the Trussell Trust, which has helped set up many food banks across the country, recently said: “The sheer volume of people who are turning to food banks because they can’t afford food is a wake-up call to the nation that we cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep.”

The charity estimates up to 650 more food banks are needed across the UK to cope with surging demand.

If anybody is in need of help, contact Help Direct on 0303 333 11 11. To contact Suzanne Hawthorn to volunteer, call her on 07944 153991.