Vital help for those in need

Wansbeck Valley Food Bank is ‘as busy as we’ve ever been’ as it has a growing number of people that require its support.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 30th November 2020, 5:14 pm
Dave Richardson, left, and Don McKenzie, right, representing Freemasons from Morpeth’s Lodge De Ogle, present a cheque for £150 to two members of Wansbeck Valley Food Bank.
Dave Richardson, left, and Don McKenzie, right, representing Freemasons from Morpeth’s Lodge De Ogle, present a cheque for £150 to two members of Wansbeck Valley Food Bank.

The charity has been responding to more requests for help since the first lockdown due to coronavirus in March.

They did drop off slightly a couple of months later as other support initiatives were put in place, but the economic impact of the continuing restrictions has led to increasing redundancies during the summer and autumn and so the number of residents in need in Morpeth, Ashington and the other places it covers is getting bigger each day.

Wansbeck Valley Food Bank was among the local organisations invited to a meeting last month organised by Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery that was the first step in his aim of bringing people and groups together to discuss how to tackle poverty in the area.

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Project manager Linda Fugill said: “As more and more people have found themselves unemployed as a result of the pandemic over the last few months, we are as busy as we’ve ever been.

“We’ve had a number of self referrals – people who have got in touch with us directly as they are unsure about things following their change in circumstances. We discuss the situation with them and then make a decision.

"We’re supporting many families for longer than we normally would because new Universal Credit claimants must wait at least five weeks for their first payment.

“Thankfully, we’ve had great support from our regular donators and the communities in which we operate. For example, Harvest Festival collections still took place in many schools and churches.

“If you or someone you know are struggling, please email us – [email protected] – or send us a message via our Facebook page and we’ll see what we can do to help.

“As for the meeting organised by Ian Lavery, hopefully this co-ordination in looking at how to tackle poverty will progress over the coming months.”

Earlier this month, the food bank received a cheque for £150 on behalf of Freemasons from Morpeth’s Lodge De Ogle.

Even though the Lodge has not met for more than six months due to Covid-19, its Freemasons have been communicating with each other and agreed that it should support families in need.

Lodge Charity Steward, Dave Richardson, said: “When we found out about the amount of people the food bank was helping in our area, it really made us think.

“We know that the food bank is committed to relieving food poverty in our local area and we wanted them to know that we are grateful for their hard work and dedication.”