A local charity has launched Bridlington’s first food bank to help working families with children who are struggling to make ends meet.
Real Aid, a Beverley-based charity which has shops on Quay Road and High Street, says it hopes to help 50 families in the town by supplying fresh and staple food items as well as household essentials.
Lindsay Killick, project manager for the scheme, said: “We are trying to help families struggling with reduced hours and wage freezes to carry on supplying fresh food and essential items.
“While incomes are not getting any higher, the cost of living and inflation is increasing all the time with rents, mortgages, energy and fuel bills.”
The charity has set up links with local businesses who supply fresh fruits, as well as tinned goods, cereals, biscuits, rice, pasta and other non-perishables and toiletries.
“This week we have cherries, apples and kiwi fruits and the people we are helping so far have been telling us that their children are enjoying maybe trying something that wouldn’t be on their weekly shopping list,” continued Mr Killick, 35, who lives in Bridlington and has two children.
“Fresh food can be expensive and may be sacrificed during the weekly shop, so children might not have the chance to try different types of fruit.”
While initially looking to help 50 families, Mr Killick admits that the number who need help in the town could be much higher.
“Finances are tight across the town, and until we get started we don’t really know how many people need our help but in other projects in the East Riding and Hull demand often outstrips supply.
“I do think that sometimes the problems of working families can be marginalised, and starting this food bank could be like opening Pandora’s Box and we may see lots more families needing support.
“Some families may earn around £20,000 a year, but if you have four or five children, that is very quickly stretched. If there are more families come forward, we will try and expand the scheme to help as many as we can. We just want to do what we can to help children in Bridlington.”
Some of the food donated to the scheme has been mislabelled or is otherwise unable to be sold in supermarkets, and would instead be sent to landfill or be used in animal feed.
Real Aid currently give out 750-800 bags of food a week across Hull and the East Riding.
They are a children’s charity set up in 2007, initially helping children in East Europe and Africa. However it was helping out during the East Yorkshire floods that opened charity workers’ eyes to the poverty problems in the East Riding.
A Draft Child Poverty Report presented to East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s cabinet on Tuesday showed that an area of Bridlington South ward is within the 2% most deprived areas of the country, and that 11% of children in the county live in poverty. The nearest food bank to Bridlington is run from Hornsea for the Holderness area. Set up under the Trussell Trust, and run by churches in the town, the food bank estimate they have helped over 1,000 families since they set up in September 2011, with a number of those from the Bridlington area.
Keith Twigg, trustee of the Hornsea food bank, echoed the view that the situation is getting worse - especially in the last six months - and has started seeing more working families in need of help.
Any local businesses who can help by donating food to Bridlington’s food bank at Real Aid, or individuals who may be able to spare extra non-perishable items, should contact Lindsay Killick on 01482 880660.
Anyone who feels they may benefit from help can go into the Real Aid store on Quay Road (the former Beevers furniture store) and fill out an application form.