Foodbank calls for help in dealing with demand

BANKING ON SUPPORT: (left to right) Volunteers Grenville Thomas, Jill Manley, David Palmer, Oscar Be

BANKING ON SUPPORT: (left to right) Volunteers Grenville Thomas, Jill Manley, David Palmer, Oscar Best, Linda Tancock, Ann Taylor and Rita Pawson - Credit: Archant

Barnstaple centre needs more funding and volunteers

The Barnstaple branch of the North Devon Foodbank is calling for more funding and volunteers to cope with growing demand.

The centre, run entirely by volunteers, was opened in January this year but may now need to swap the Salvation Army Hall in Oakleigh road for a larger premises.

Demand has been high – they currently deal with around 25 food vouchers a week. But volunteer manager David Palmer fears this could grow over the winter, with 27% of North Devon’s population living ‘on the bread line’.

“It’s our beliefs as Christians that drive us to do this and I’m really worried,” he said.

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“We need a home and want to make it a focal point of the community.

“What’s fundamental for us is that we have a community that does donate and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to do this and for people who need our help to get it.

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“We want to be able to open on Wednesdays from September - the ambition has to be ownership as a community and we need funding for a new place.”

Over the summer, 35 students from Petroc raised £1,500 through a variety of events for the foodbank to raise awareness that it is not just aimed at one section of the community.

“They were great,” said David. “They came in and got it straight away.”

But the bank is struggling to deal with the large demand, as the number of people looking to foodbanks nationally continues to rise.

Volunteer Rita Pawson said: “We desperately need funding.

“We are really grateful to the Salvation Army but we need somewhere bigger.”

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