May 22, 2015
Food Bank team in Burnham and Highbridge reports rising usage

The team that runs Burnham and Highbridge's Food Banks say their service is being used by an ever-growing number of desperate local people.

The service, which is run by volunteers from Burnham and Highbridge Churches Together, pictured at their AGM this week, say economic hardship is behind the growth in users.

"The majority of the people we help are young people in difficulty with a smaller percentage being over 65," said Reverend Crossman, who helps to run the Food Bank as part of the Churches Together group.

"Many of them or their families have encountered benefit changes or delays, which have left them short of money for essentials. Debt is also a contributing factor."

"While the majority of the users are from Highbridge, there are users in the Burnham Central and Burnham North wards plus local villages in the Burnham area."

A total of 909 people were helped locally in 2014/15, this week's meeting was told. The success of the Food Banks is thanks to the support of local residents, who have donated a huge 22,529kg of food over the past three years.

Looking ahead for the next 12 months, the Burnham and Highbridge group has appointed separate trustees who are focusing on areas such strategy and operations to manage the day-to-day running of the service.

The Food Bank's aim is to help people through short-term crisis by providing emergency food parcels of non-perishable foods which have been donated by local shoppers and churchgoers.

Food is only given to people who have been identified as being in a real crisis by front-line care professionals from the Citizens Advice Bureau, Sedgemoor District Council, Children's Centres, Schools or other support services. The Food Bank also provides support by directing people to other agencies to help combat long-term problems.

The local Food Banks are based at St John's Church in Highbridge (Wednesdays: 10.00am-11.30am), Hope Baptist Church in Highbridge (Thursdays: 9.30am-12.00pm) and Burnham Methodist Church (Saturdays: 10.00am-12.00pm).

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