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Food bank demand more than thought
11:00am Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
A HIGHER than expected demand has hit the town’s foodbank.
Mayor Phill Bettington says the number of people using the town food bank, and claims of homeless people sleeping rough, are “signs of the times” which concern him.
He said at a full town council meeting there was a higher demand for the food bank than was first expected, and he has received e-mails asking what he was going to do about the homeless situation in Ledbury.
Since then, Coun Bettington has discovered the e-mails are sent out by an unknown group to many other Herefordshire councillors, with only the name of the town and the councillor altered each time.
But his enquiries to the police have revealed there is at least one man sleeping rough in the Ledbury area, and now Coun Bettington is attempting to guage the full extent of the problem, if a homeless problem does exist.
He said: “I don’t know if there is homelessness in Ledbury, unless people tell me I’m wrong.
“I have contacted Shelter in Hereford, and if anyone sees someone sleeping rough, they should pass the information on to them.”
The widespread use of Ledbury’s food bank is a much clearer picture.
Ledbury food bank spokesman, David Kirkham said the food bank was now helping about two dozen Ledbury people every week.
He said: “To some extent, the level surprises me.”
A study of food banks and population levels in other towns led the Ledbury Food Bank to expect only four or five clients a week, initially. But Mr Kirkham said: “Now we are running short of supplies on occasions.”
He estimated that since the food bank started up, shortly before Christmas, it has helped hungry local people on 200 separate occasions.
Food donations for the food bank can be left at Ledbury Town Council offices in Church Lane and Ledbury Parish Church.
Anyone wanting to contact Shelter regarding homelessness should call 01432 261600