Valley foodbank use remains at record levels

Foodbank manager Ruth Haldane at a previous year's Tesco collection
Foodbank manager Ruth Haldane at a previous year's Tesco collection
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Struggling families in the Ribble Valley are continuing to be driven to the doors of the foodbank for a multitude of reasons.

According to statistics, 1,512 people in the borough received three days emergency food in 2016 - 20% up on the previous year. Of these, 538 were children.

Ribble Valley Foodbank manager, Ruth Haldane, commented: “The main reasons for attending the foodbank are low income, followed by benefit delays and benefit changes. We are seeing many people in very challenging situations and it is a privilege for us to be able to help those in crisis.

“People in the Ribble Valley have continued to generously donate food and if we ever have a shortage of food a notice goes on the website and to various organisations and within two or three weeks we don’t have that shortage any longer!

“At Christmas we were able to distribute around 170 Christmas food parcels to clients referred through our referral agencies, making a difference to Christmas for those in real difficulties.

“Much of the Christmas food came through our Tesco collection and from individuals who donated cakes, puddings, biscuits, chocolates and other treats. We are also very grateful to those who give financially to the foodbank - some give by standing order, others give one off gifts, or fundraise. We are particularly grateful to the Clitheroe Fireworks Committee for their generous donation of £5,000.”

Ruth explained how the much-needed organisation works on a referral system. “We have 62 referral agencies in the Ribble Valley who hold foodbank vouchers and distribute them to clients when they know there is a need.

“Clients then come to either of the foodbank centres in Ribble Valley or Longridge and are offered refreshments and a light lunch, as well as signposting to where they could receive further help.

“There are currently 76 volunteers at the foodbank, who have given their time and skills since it opened. Ultimately, we would prefer not to see the need for a foodbank in the Ribble Valley, but with numbers up and in the present national situation, we will continue for as long as we are needed.

“I recently watched the film ‘I Daniel Blake’ which is about people in the welfare system - the audience silence at the end portrayed it all. I highly recommend everyone watches this as we are seeing clients in exactly the same situations that are portrayed in the film.”

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