Food bank extends its voucher scheme as demand continues to rise

Wansbeck Valley Food Bank project manager Linda Fugill.
Wansbeck Valley Food Bank project manager Linda Fugill.

A busy Northumberland food bank has extended a successful voucher scheme it trialled with a local butcher.

Wansbeck Valley Food Bank has seen demand rise by more than 25 per cent over the last year, with 10,637 parcels supplied to families in Ashington, Newbiggin, Pegswood, Lynemouth and Morpeth in 2016.

The Food Bank set up a trial with an Ashington butcher where vouchers were provided to clients to allow them a choice of fresh meat and other produce.

And now, after being put forward for a grant by Linda Fugill, project manager at Wansbeck Valley Food Bank, Newcastle Building Society has donated £1,000 for a further 360 £5 vouchers to extend the scheme to shops in Newbiggin and Morpeth.

Linda said: “The clients with whom we work are all referred to us and have to meet a specific set of criteria to qualify for support, and we’ve seen demand growing steadily over the four-and-a-half years that the service has been in place.

“The voucher scheme was introduced to provide families with a element of flexibility over the food they’re choosing to eat.

“With demand increasing and finances always tight, we simply wouldn’t have been able to extend this scheme without Newcastle Building Society’s support.”

Ivy Campbell, branch manager at the Society’s Station Road branch in Ashington, said: “The growing need for the Food Bank in our area is sadly only too clear, and it plays an essential role in enabling many local families to get a properly balanced diet.”

“We support the communities in which we’re based, and we hope our support enables the Food Bank team to achieve their objectives through extending this successful part of their operations.”

Founded in 2012, Wansbeck Valley Food Bank is a registered charity and employs five people who are supported by a wider team of 30 volunteers.

It generates stocks of basic dried and tinned foods through donations from various local churches, schools and community groups, as well as via supermarket collections, with balanced food parcels prepared with guidance from a food nutritionist.

For more information on the work of the Wansbeck Valley Food Bank, visit www.wansbeckvalleyfoodbank.org