Friday 17 February 2017

A visit to The Basic Idea food bank in Belper

I was asked by John Owen to accompany him on a visit to the Belper food bank which is run by Hope for Belper. John Owen is the Labour County Councillor for the Belper Ward (or should that be Belper division). Councillors have a limited amount of money that they can disburse to causes or groups in their locality and Councillor Owen wished to make an award of £1,000 to Hope for Belper in recognition of the vital part they play in the life of the town. We were greeted by Gareth Greenwood of Hope for Belper.

Gareth Greenwood accepting a cheque from Clr. John Owen
In true journalistic fashion I asked both these chaps for a quote (much easier to report something if you only have to write down what others say)

Gareth said

"Alongside the many volunteer hours each year and the very generous food donations from many across the town and beyond, monies such as this £1000 from Councillor Owen are absolutely vital to enable the project to continue.  There is not one main 'sort' of person who comes to The Basic Idea food bank for help.  Family and/or financial crisis can affect any one of us at any time.  The churches that together, through Hope for Belper, run the food bank, see this as a natural part of loving their neighbours.

Through the more recent addition of CAP (Christians Against Poverty) Debt Management, CAP Money Courses and CAP Lifeskills, Hope for Belper is reaching forward to a time when some of our neighbours will no longer require help from a food bank."

John commented

"The existence of this food bank is evidence that there is real need in the town. The food bank delivers a vital service for people that have fallen through the safety net of our benefit and social security systems. Looking at the donated food packed on these shelves It is heart warming to see the generosity and caring nature of the folk in this area. Many struggle to find work or find it hard to make ends meet so if this food bank did not exist they would go hungry."

Gareth has sent me a few facts about the operation:

During 2016 we received 347 referrals from 14 separate agencies

The number of distinct families and individuals we helped was 153 with a very small number of families and individuals receiving repeated help over the period and with others being referred multiple times over shorter periods

The top four most frequent referrers over the year were...

Job Centre 112
Children's Centre 111
Chevin House Hostel 39
CAB 24

Most frequent reason for requiring help is Benefit delay accounting for 75 referrals - this number increases to 103 for all benefit related referrals or equating to 30% for 2016

Debt accounts for a further 70 (2 out of every 10) with the next biggest being 68 referrals being due to families struggling on low incomes

We have had the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Management service in place for nearly a year and have been able to support CAP clients thorough the process of getting free from debt by providing food boxes as part of that program

In conclusion

If you are interested in donating to the charity or perhaps becoming a volunteer then You can find out more details about all of the Hope projects from our website and FB pages - just click on Hope for Belper / H4B FB page 

If you need to speak with your local County Councillor then contact details of John Owen can be found here:


Jen said...

There is a CAP Life Skills course starting at St Peter's, Belper on 8th March. It's a fun and friendly course which helps yoiu tyo budgert, cook healthy meals and deal with the stress of life on a low income. For more information abd to book contact Jenny Lesley on 07752974737 or email jennylesley@caplifeskills.orh

E A Sills said...

Good stuff!