Foodbank could be up and running this year

The Rev David Oxtoby hopes a foodbank can be launched in Sutton Bridge this year. ANL-140206-113208001
The Rev David Oxtoby hopes a foodbank can be launched in Sutton Bridge this year. ANL-140206-113208001
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Hopes are high that a foodbank can be launched in Sutton Bridge – officially the poorest village in South Holland – before the end of this year.

The Rev David Oxtoby is drawing together key players in the community and various agencies to get the project off the ground.

A meeting has already been held, at which it was agreed a foodbank would be beneficial, but the project may go further with plans for a linked cafe and charity shop in the pipeline.

Mr Oxtoby said there is no reason why a foodbank shouldn’t be up and running this year, but the cafe and charity shop may take a little longer.

He said: “We want to focus on starting small and support the community with appropriate food parcels.”

If Church authorities agree, it’s likely the foodbank will be housed in St Matthew’s Church, in Bridge Road, as a first step.

St Matthew’s already has its Trinity Room, which doubles as a cafe for special occasions.

A report last year revealed more than one in five children in Sutton Bridge are living in poverty.

A quarter of the pupils at Westmere Primary School are eligible for free school meals.

All sections of the community are increasingly turning to foodbanks, not just in Sutton Bridge but across the nation.

Figures from the Trussell Trust reveal more than 900,000 people received help from foodbanks in 2013-14, a massive 163 per cent rise on 2012-13.

South Holland saw almost a 70 per cent jump in the number of food parcels handed out by the Agapecare Foodbank in Spalding, Holbeach and Long Sutton.

Mr Oxtoby said as many as 40 people from Sutton Bridge travelled to Spalding last year to use foodbank vouchers and that’s “likely to be around the 60-80 mark” this year.

Foodbanks do not prop up ongoing poverty and are there almost as a last resort when people cannot put food on the table.

Usually only three vouchers are given – each worth about £40-£50 of groceries.

Mr Oxtoby helped found a foodbank in his previous parish, Stamford, and said around 30 per cent of the people who turned to it for help were in full-time work.

He said: “Because they were living on the margin the slightest thing like the car breaking down, and a £500 bill to repair it, would push them over the edge.”