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Bassetlaw: Thousands of parents reliant on food bank service to prevent starvation

Thousands of parents are still reliant on Bassetlaw Food Bank to stop their children from starving despite the economic recovery.

In 2014, the food bank dealt with 3,500 referrals - a 100 per cent increase on the previous year.

Zero hour contracts, not being able to pay bills, unemployment and bereavements are still the main reasons why people call out for help.

Allison Palmer, co-ordinator at Bassetlaw Food Bank, said: “We had one woman who had not eaten for a week and she wanted to leave her five children with us because she could not cope.”

“In December we had three referrals from the police. One was for a lady who had been caught shoplifting with her two children having been left by her partner with no money. The other was someone released from prison on Christmas Eve with no money and no where to live and the third one was to help a victim of purse theft.”

“This again reinforces that we are now fully embedded in the community and a recognised avenue of support for other professional agencies.”

The food bank, on Lowtown Street, is run by volunteers who work hard to secure partnerships with local businesses.

In December 2014, Bartrop and Dilks Estate Agents, on Bridge Street in Worksop, collected donations instead of sending Christmas Cards to their family and friends.

Wilko and B&Q also made considerable donations as did many others across Bassetlaw including Whitwell Primary School who donated 300 selection boxes.”

“One couple, who would like to remain anonymous, donated £300 in cash instead of buying each other Christmas presents,” Allison said. “They wanted to make Christmas better for other families, they appreciated that other people could not afford that.”

Bassetlaw Food Bank has been open for around two years and has distribution centres at The Crossing on Newcastle Street, Worksop, open 9am-4pm, Monday to Saturday and Hope Community Services on Queen Street, Worksop, open 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday.

Volunteers are expecting a busy couple of months, with the food bank already averaging 30 referrals a week so far in 2015.

“February, March and April are always busy because this is when people struggle to pay their credit card bills from Christmas,” Allison added.

“We are preparing for universal credit when that comes in.”

“The demand is not slowing down.”