Camborne food bank braces for surge in demand

Volunteers at a Camborne food bank are bracing themselves for a surge in demand ahead of the next round of welfare cuts in April.

The food bank, which hands out emergency supplies to needy people, fears the latest cuts to benefits will bring a new influx to their door.

Food bank administrator Jennifer Gardner said: "A number of the families we serve are facing a cut of up to £15 a week, which is the weekly food budget for some of them.

"When we first started we were open two days a week but quickly found it was only necessary to open for one. But as of last week we are back to opening for two days to keep up with demand."

The Camborne, Pool and Redruth (CPR) Food Bank was set up in June 2010 and provides nearly 1,700 meals a week to individuals and families who cannot afford to feed themselves.

The number of meals served each week has increased steadily since the food bank opened.

Recently volunteers have served up to 80 people each week, compared with 50 in the run up to Christmas, which is usually their busiest time.

The food bank is made possible by donations from the public and businesses but when stocks run low the organisers have to top up supplies themselves.

Donations from the public peaked around Christmas but Mrs Gardner is concerned that they could drop in the coming months as families feel the squeeze on household budgets.

She added: "We used to have to stock up from the supermarket every month or so but recently we have needed to every week. As the price of things go up there is the worry that donations could drop - people can't give what they haven't got.

"We are expecting to see more people in the coming months. But if people continue to be as generous as they have been, we should be able to keep up.”

Welfare cuts on April 1 are aimed at cutting the UK's £23bn annual bill for housing benefit and families deemed by their local authorities to have too much living space will see their payments reduced. But critics claim the changes will leave more families struggling to make ends meet.

People can give canned and other non-perishable goods at Tesco stores in Camborne, Pool and Redruth.

By Harvey Gavin

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