27% of families in H&F live in poverty, and 50% of kids live in low income families - some of the sobering facts that accompany the news that the H&F Foodbank is coming to Shepherd's Bush.
I've been talking to Daphine Aikens, the manager of Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank, who work with local people in crisis without food or money to buy food. This may be for a variety of reasons including redundancy, benefit delay, ill health, low income, homelessness and debt. Sadly, with the cold winds of recession blowing through W12 at the moment, their services are likely to be even more in demand.
It's not difficult to see the people in and around the Bush who are in this sort of trouble, as a walk across the Green or my Saturday night with the local Police recently confirmed, so the news that they are opening here has to be welcome. Here's what Daphine has to say - and please note the bit about how you can help:
|One of the Bush's many rough sleepers|
"The Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank, part of the Trussell Trust Network of Foodbanks, was launched last year in Fulham. Since then we have provided food parcels to over 800 people who live* in the Borough – from White City to Shepherds Bush to Fulham - that’s over 8,000 meals that people did not have to skip due to poverty".
"27% of people in the Borough live in poverty; 50% of children in Hammermsith & Fulham live in low income families – these are just a few of the statistics that motivate us at the Foodbank".
"Our primary objective is to meet the needs of those in the community who are in crisis – caused by benefit cuts/delays, low income, illness, domestic violence or unemployment. Clients are referred to us by frontline care providers using our voucher system. Each client is given a menu plan and enough food for 10 meals".
"All food is donated by the public via food collections held at supermarkets, churches, schools, and local businesses".
"We are currently based in Fulham and open twice a week (on Tuesday mornings and Friday afternoons) to distribute food via our café-style Distribution Centre. Hot drinks and home-made snacks are also served, and a listening ear provided by our volunteers, as well as signposting to other organisations and Agencies who might be able to help".
"A third café-style Distribution Centre will be launched later this year at St Simon’s Rockley Road, Shepherds Bush, W14. This venue will allow us to be open a third time every week, allowing our clients more flexibility with regard to timing, and location. The new Distribution Centre will be run by a Supervisor who has experience at our Fulham site. However, we will be looking for a local volunteer to take over this role as soon as they are trained and have the support of a good local volunteer team which we are actively recruiting".
For more information or to enquire about food donations, volunteering and other ways in which you can help, please contact Daphine Aikens, the H&F Foodbank Co-ordinator by email: email@example.com
*A handful of people who live just outside the borough were also given food at the request of a referring organisation.