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Somer Valley Food Bank starts work to help struggling families

By SG_ABrennan  |  Posted: January 08, 2013

Joy Fraser, pictured with the Rev Matthew Street of St John's Church in Peasedown St John, said the new Somer Valley Food Bank was 'the culmination of some very hard work' from volunteers

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The Somer Valley Food Bank has opened its doors to the first families struggling to put food on the table.

Today’s launch marked the end of six months of planning, with the first collection centre open in the tea rooms next to St Nicholas Church in Radstock.

The project is being led by local churches and is intended to help deal with the problem of increasing financial need in the area, whether due to redundancy or inadequate pension.

In the last year, the neighbouring Bath Food Bank issued 84 food vouchers to people living in the Midsomer Norton, Radstock, High Littleton Paulton and Peasedown St John areas.

Those vouchers have helped a total of 241 people - 136 of them adults and 105 children.

The new food bank will be working alongside 26 agencies which will assess needs and issue vouchers to those in need.

Co-ordinator Joy Fraser said: “The new food bank in the Somer Valley is the culmination of some very hard work by a number of volunteers who originally all came to the project from churches and other organisations in Peasedown, Midsomer Norton, Radstock and the surrounding villages. We are very grateful to everyone who has helped.”

A small team was formed to set up the food bank , identifying and preparing a store for food, collecting more than four tonnes of food, recruiting more than 100 volunteers, liaising with professional agencies which will issue the vouchers, raising awareness of the project, visiting other projects and setting up distribution centres.

It aims to provide three days of food as emergency help in a crisis.

Professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and police identify people in crisis and issue them with a voucher.

This can be taken can be taken to a food bank distribution centre where the food has been collected through donations, or from volunteers.

The project is also working towards providing emergency boxes which can be provided to carry families over should there be a crisis at weekends when the distribution centres are closed.

Mrs Fraser stressed that any one needing the support would receive it in a non-judgemental way.

The other distribution centres are at the Salvation Army in Midsomer Norton, and Peasedown St John Methodist Church.

For more details ring 01761 433709 or go to www.somervalley.foodbank.org.uk.

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  • Viscount_V  |  January 09 2013, 11:27PM

    I met a lady today, she volunteers tirelessly for children in Southern India, she and others fly out under their own expense to ensure these youngsters get clothes, pens, sweets, hairslides, football boots! The little luxuries for the deprived and joyless.. I can't believe they may well find their efforts needed here but they will be. If a child is going hungry and being deprived the little joys of a carefree childhood it doesn't matter if it's here or foreign shores. Each and every one of us who thanks our lucky stars for a functioning welfare state and national health service must stand up and fight. We should not deprive our youngsters the basic necessities of food and shelter while the slightly well off only forego Waitrose shopping for Lidl. Or the very wealthy forego nothing at all while the ordinary people pay through blood sweat and tears. We didn't cause this!!

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  • mcupis  |  January 09 2013, 7:29AM

    Our economy almost completely collapsed in 2009. Some people are desperate to try to deny the extent and ramifications of what took place. Of course the poorest are the people who are going to suffer the most. Of course they need to have the majority of assistance available. It is time for all people from all ends of the political spectrum to recognise the extent of what has taken place and work together to fix it, instead of pretending it never happened and engaging in petty political feuding.

  • capndave  |  January 08 2013, 9:37PM

    This makes me weep VV. What have we previous generations of silly old sods grafted away for if only to see ours starving? Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and Co you do not have a clue!!!!!

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  • Viscount_V  |  January 08 2013, 6:12PM

    Shocking that such a thing is needed in this century. I'm uncomfortable with societies reliance on charity. I'm very uncomfortable with desperate people having to go cap in hand for food parcels. Sadly I recognise the need and fully respect the worthy intentions of those volunteering, but it shouldn't be happening. Are we to go back to handouts to the Parish poor deemed deserving enough?

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