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Council digs deep to help the hungry in Hartlepool
A FOODBANK that has helped more than 3,000 people has been given a cash boost by its local authority.
Councillors have pledged a further £4,000 to help hard-pressed families across Hartlepool.
The money, which follows a previous donation of £10,000, is the result of an under-spend in the Borough Council’s Local Welfare Support Scheme (LWSS), a hardship fund that provides a mix of crisis and non-crisis support to those most in need.
Al Wales, co-ordinator of the foodbank, said: “We are very grateful to the council for this additional financial help, and it is great to know that we live in a town that takes its commitment to local people so seriously.”
The foodbank - a joint initiative of Churches Together and The Trussell Trust - accepts referrals from a range of agencies and organisations and, since opening in December last year, it has assisted 3,350 people – 2,179 adults and 1,171 children.
In the last six months, it has received 812 first-time referrals and in August alone it gave out more than 2.5 tonnes of food.
Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “These statistics are a grim reminder of just how many local families are struggling to even put food on the table in these times of extreme economic hardship and government welfare reform.
“When it became clear that there was a significant under-spend in the LWSS, offering additional support to such an important initiative as the foodbank seemed to be a very appropriate way of using spare resources.
“The foodbank is playing an absolutely vital role in supporting large numbers of local people with nowhere else to turn to and I shudder to think of what would happen if it didn’t exist.”
The foodbank, based at 28 Church Street, has now issued a fresh appeal for donations of non-perishable foodstuffs and items can be taken directly to the foodbank on Tuesdays and Fridays, between 11.30am and 1.30pm.
The town’s Tesco supermarket in Burn Road is also setting up a permanent collection point and Asda in Marina Way is happy to take donations on behalf of the foodbank.
Where groups of people, schools and other organisations have collected a significant amount of food, collection can be arranged by calling 01429-598404.
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