Help is at hand for families in need in village

Volunteers at Sutton Bridge Foodbank which opens on December 16 at St Matthew's Church are 'Phil Scarlett, Rev David Oxtoby and Jane Wilkinson with donated supplies from Deepings Foodbank.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Volunteers at Sutton Bridge Foodbank which opens on December 16 at St Matthew's Church are 'Phil Scarlett, Rev David Oxtoby and Jane Wilkinson with donated supplies from Deepings Foodbank. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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Shocking statistics showing that more than one in five children in Sutton Bridge are living in food poverty has sparked the community into action.

At the same time as families prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Sutton Bridge Foodbank is preparing to open its doors at St Matthew’s Church, Bridge Road, on December 16.

Figures from the Campaign to End Child Poverty Statistics released last month showed that child poverty in South Holland’s most deprived ward grew from 22 per cent to almost 23 per cent during 2013.

The situation is even worse after housing costs are paid, with almost 35 per cent of village children living below the breadline.

About a dozen volunteers have pledged to support the foodbank after a public meeting last Tuesday where Rev David Oxtoby, priest-in-charge of Sutton Bridge, spelt out the needs of people in the village in stark terms.

Mr Oxtoby said: “Figures from foodbanks in Spalding, Long Sutton and Holbeach for 2013 showed that of the food vouchers issued by them, 40 were for people from Sutton Bridge.

“But we’re sure that the figures don’t account for all the food vouchers issued and in any case, the biggest barrier to issuing food vouchers was travel.

“That’s one of the reasons why we need a foodbank on our doorstep so people can get the food they need.”

The new foodbank coincides with the Spalding Guardian’s annual Christmas Foodbank Appeal, encouraging readers to spare a thought for individuals and families hit by redundancy, low income, benefit changes and long-term unemployment.

Carol Hellen, a youth worker in South Holland and part of the Sutton Bridge Foodbank committee, said: “I believe that Sutton Bridge needs its own foodbank, not least for the outlying villages.”