THE number of people relying on the Helston food bank has seen a huge rise over recent months.
Town councillors heard from Ruth McGurk from the food bank at a recent meeting, where she highlighted the problems many people are facing, and the extent to which many rely on its services.
Mrs McGurk said that people had used the food bank 2,637 times in 2012, however this year to date this had soared to 3,388, helping 376 people, 65 per cent of which were from Helston.
She said that recent benefit changes, welfare reforms and the "spare room subsidy", dubbed the bedroom tax when it was introduced by the Government, were major drivers of this increase, with many on low incomes being severely impacted.
She also raised concerns that many "desperate" people did not know where to turn, especially since the closure of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Councillors heard that supermarkets and smaller stores were supporting the food bank, and there were hopes that service personnel from Culdrose would be helping out and a repeat of a visit to the town’s schools would happen, to raise the food bank’s profile and garner extra support. There was also a hope that there would be support from Helston Young Farmers Club this year.
The mayor of Helston Jonathan Radford-Gaby and town councillors joined together in their praise for the work done by the food bank in the town, with Mr Radford-Gaby saying how essential it was to raise awareness about and support the work being done by the volunteers and how everyone is thankful that they are plugging this gap and helping people in such a vital way.
He added: “I think it is a great pity in this day and age there is a need for this.”
The Helston food bank is run by the Mustard Seed charity in Helston. The foodbank, which can be found in the Open Door Cafe in Wendron Street, aims to provide three days’ worth of non-perishable food, as well as |confidential advice and support, to help those experiencing short-term crisis.
The charity covers an area of 111 square miles and a population of 31,000 and neither the Trussel Trust nor Mustard Seed receives any financial assistance in providing this service other than donations and help from local individuals. To help, contact Mustard Seed at The Open Door, 14 Wendron Street. Telephone 01326 564194 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.