ASHBOURNE families facing financial difficulties and struggling to buy food are being offered support from council-run foodbanks.
It is part of Derbyshire County Council’s wider commitment to tackling poverty, supporting people on low incomes, reducing health inequalities and protecting the country’s most vulnerable residents.
The rising cost of living, static incomes, changes to benefits, underemployment and unemployment have meant increasing numbers of people in the area have hit a crisis that forces them to go hungry.
According to national figures released by The Trussell Trust, the number of people relying on food banks to survive has tripled over the last year.
Councillor Dave Allen said: “It is a sad state of affairs that although we’re the seventh richest nation in the world, many of our residents are being forced to queue up at food banks to meet their most basic needs.
“This is not about indiscriminately giving away free food – it’s about supporting working people on low incomes and in the most severe financial need who are given an official referral to qualify for an emergency food parcel.
“Not having enough to eat not only has an impact on people’s physical health but on their mental health and long-term life opportunities too, which can also lead to increased pressure on many local authority and health support services.
“Our aim is to make sure help gets through to the most vulnerable residents who need it the most and we will do everything we can to continue our support for as long as people need it.”
Food banks provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis.
To receive a food parcel families need to be referred by children’s centres, GPs, schools, the probation service, Derbyshire police or another advice agency.
There is currently one food bank in Ashbourne – and another 19 in the county, with plans for additional banks in the future.
Most of the food is provided by UK charity FareShare which distributes surplus ‘fit for purpose’ products from the food and drink industry, including major supermarkets, to community organisations.
More information is available online at www.advicederbyshire.org