October 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Soham Foodbank has helped feed more than 300 people struggling with debt in its first year in business.
The town’s foodbank was set up in July last year with the help of Ely Foodbank, which provides support and supplies to the Soham branch – based in Bushel Lane.
When it first opened, volunteers at the Soham branch welcomed just a few customers at a time but the numbers coming to them for help has risen steadily as the weeks and months have passed.
Volunteer Howard Laver says that they now help up to 15 people a week – an increase of about a third in the last six months alone.
He said: “In our first year, we have had 120 individuals come to us for assistance. That represents 185 adults and 130 children. It is possible for us to hand out up to a quarter of a ton of food a week.
“The foodbank is run entirely by an excellent group of volunteers and it is totally reliant upon donations from local individuals and organisations.
“Unfortunately, in the media, poverty tends to be highlighted in urban rather than rural areas. There are key differences between the two areas. Transport costs is the biggest issue as access to job centres, and Citizens’ Advice Bureaus are a real problem.
“The local job centre is based in Ely but the return bus fare from Soham to Ely is around £6.50, which expensive, especially when you need food.
“Our clients come mainly from Soham and the surrounding villages and they can struggle to get to the foodbank if they do not have their own transport.
“Their reasons for coming vary, but generally they suffer from low income, debt and benefit delays.”
If you are interested in volunteering at Ely or Soham foodbanks, contact 01353 662396 or visit http://ely.foodbank.org.uk