Food bank appeal as hunger total grows

Organisers of Belper’s food bank are appealing for more donations, as demand for its services reach a new all-time high.

Charity Hope for Belper has been delivering parcels to families on low incomes since 2009, with demand rising from 50 deliveries to more than 220 this year.

Now, leaders are asking the public to help with the effort - by donating spare food at one of the drop-off points around town.

The group is also set to apply for a share of more than £100,000 worth of funding being pumped into food banks by Derbyshire County Council.

Hope for Belper co-ordinator Gareth Greenwood, said: “The amount of deliveries had been steadily doubling and has risen slightly again this year.

“The fact people are on lower incomes and have less spare money means if one of their white goods or something else expensive breaks they can be really struggling.

“There have also been changes to benefits and other factors that can mean more people are asking for help.

“With the recent harvest festivals we have had donations coming in from places such as Heage and Holbrook. However, we can always do with more.”

Around 30 volunteers give-up their time in Belper as drivers, co-ordinators and collectors for the scheme.

To help support the effort the group is now considering applying for new funding announced by the county council this week.

There are currently 14 food banks in Derbyshire run by charities and non-profit organisations.

The council is inviting these organisations to apply for a share of £108,000 to help them respond to the increasing local demand.

Derbyshire County Council’s health and communities councillor Dave Allen said: “Many of the most vulnerable people in our communities are living on the verge of crisis because of the scale of national cuts.

“This winter many families and older people will be faced with the appalling decision of whether to heat or eat. That’s why we are providing extra funds to help food banks offer emergency support wherever it’s needed.”

Food banks provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis.

To receive a food parcel, people need to be referred to a food bank from children’s centres, GPs, advice agencies, schools, the probation service or the police.

To view a list of Belper food bank donation points log-on to www.hopeforbelper.com