Belper’s food bank has been awarded a £2,257 council grant to help it cope with increased demand.
Seventeen of the county’s 21 food banks applied for Derbyshire County Council funding and have been awarded a total of £113,000 to help them feed more people.
Food banks who successfully applied will start to receive their grants from next month.
Organiser of Belper Food Bank, Gareth Greenwood, said: “We put in for a small amount as we have less throughput than some of the other food banks.
“It will enable us to pay rent and put up more shelves and cupboards - so it’s really valuable to us in that sense and will help us keep pace with the gradual increase in referrals we are seeing. Thanks to the recent campaign in the Belper News and the school’s harvest we have a good stock of food but require better storage.”
The council decided to approve funding from its public health budget as part of its wider goals of tackling poverty, supporting people on low incomes, reducing health inequalities and protecting the county’s most vulnerable residents.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “The rising cost of living, static incomes, changes to benefits and unemployment have meant increasing numbers of people in the UK have hit a crisis that forces them to go hungry.
“It’s been termed a public health emergency by leading medical experts and we feel it is the right thing to do to support working people on low incomes and those in the most severe financial need who are struggling to put food on the table.
“Lack of proper nutrition not only has a huge impact on people’s physical and mental health but also on the health and local authority support services they increasingly have to rely on if the situation is not addressed.
“We hope this round of grant funding goes a little way to start supporting food banks that are facing increasing pressure to feed more people.”
Food banks provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis.
To receive a food parcel, residents need to be referred from children’s centres, GPs, schools, the probation service, Derbyshire police or a range of other advice agencies.
Almost 350,000 people in the UK received at least three days emergency food. more than 200 families in Belper are currently being helped. For local food bank contact details visit www.advicederbyshire.org.