Carlisle Foodbank moves to new home
Report from News and Star
The city’s Foodbank, which provides meal on average for about 500 people per week, has relocated to Nisi Prius Courthouse in the Citadels, Carlisle city centre.
It opened its doors yesterday, and will be open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1pm to 3pm.
Rachael Rodway, chairwoman of Carlisle Foodbank, said: “I think it’s very exciting. We’re immensely grateful to the county council for offering this to us because it’s a big space that we need and we’re not in a position to pay commercial rent.
“It’s another challenge. We have known for a long time that the Salvation Army wanted the space – they have been incredibly generous to us.”
The new location has good transport links for the rest of the city and is a good space.
Carlisle Foodbank has moved into its new home with the help of offenders ordered to do community service by the court, who have painted, moved food and put up shelving.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” said Rachael.
The Carlisle Foodbank was set up in the Salvation Army’s building on St Nicholas Street five years ago. It now has more than 30 volunteers.
Rachael said: “We had no idea it would still be going on and it would grow so big. But we didn’t even give it a minute’s thought. We just thought, ‘We’ll do this’.”
In January, the Foodbank issued more than 600 food parcels to people – the greatest number of parcels it has ever issued in a month.
A new concern is families being referred to the Foodbank because of the ‘benefit cap’. The Conservative government lowered the ‘benefit cap’ by up to £6,000 last November, affecting thousands of people across the country.
The cap includes most benefits including Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support, Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.
Rachael said: “A lot of the welfare reforms introduced by George Osborne are really having a terrible effect so we are very short of food.”
The Foodbank is always in need of fresh food. It has an arrangement with some city supermarkets to collect surplus food – last year it collected nearly four tonnes.