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Bradford foodbank aims to move home
A Bradford foodbank which has outgrown its premises is looking for a warehouse base in preparation for an expected surge in demand when changes to the benefits system are implemented later this year.
The Bradford Metropolitan Foodbank, which operates out of St Mary’s Church, Barkerend, has issued a plea for a new home after fears that more needy families across the district will need food parcels to avoid going hungry when Universal Credit is introduced in October.
Universal Credit, which replaces Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and income-related Employment and Support Allowance, is part of the Government’s welfare reforms.
Lashman Singh, who founded the foodbank in 2004, said: “We need prepare ourselves for the change in the benefits system – things will be extremely hard for people and we are always trying to get people to give us more so we can meet demand.
“At the moment we’re doing our best with what we’ve got, but we need help.”
Mr Singh said an increase in donations had meant the foodbank had to move its operation from a small room in the building to the main church hall last June, with elderly volunteers stacking boxes on pews and bringing pallets in through small doors.
“We have outgrown our premises in the sense that we have no industrial shelving to store food. We’re getting to a stage that it’s not very safe,” he said.
“At the moment when we get donations they have to be carried up steps and a lot of our volunteers are aged between 60 and 70.
“We need a more mechanical way of bringing things in.”
The group, which distributed a record 476 parcels in November, has no money to pay rent for new premises, but is hoping to find a more suitable building or warehouse.
It also needs a forklift truck to help it move pallets of food, as well as industrial shelving and sponsorship for a van to carry donations.
“We want to stay within travelling distance of Bradford city centre – even if it was another church premises that is on a level with no stairs,” Mr Singh said.
“There’s been an increase in awareness about foodbanks, poverty is something that people don’t think happens on their doorstep.
“We are trying to help people in society and we need people to help us.”
Anyone who can help, or would like to make a donation to the foodbank, should visit bradfordfoodbank.com.