Sidmouth food bank to help the hard-up

A FOOD bank will be launched in Sidmouth after it was revealed that scores of families are so hard-up they cannot afford to eat.

Driving forces behind the project say there is a stigma around poverty in a town widely perceived as affluent – with some residents unwilling to ask for help.

They have pulled out all the stops to have the service up and running by Christmas.

The Sid Valley Food Bank will open its doors next Friday, December 14.

It will operate on a weekly basis out of the Leigh Browne room, next to the Unitarian Chapel in All Saints Road, from 1pm to 3pm.

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“There is a misconception that Sidmouth is wealthy – but there are a lot of families in need,” said organiser Annemarie Jones.

“A lot of people don’t know about the problem because those suffering won’t say and ask for help.

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“There are lots of families from Sidmouth who are already going to Honiton (food bank).”

The project, which will serve the entire Sid Valley and Newton Poppleford, is the initiative of a group of Christians, who say they are aware of the present poverty in the area - and how the future economic climate will effect the population further.

The food bank will aim provide a nutritionally balanced supply of nourishment to anyone in ‘food crisis’ - where people have no money for subsistence - for a minimum of three days.

“People might find themselves in need of emergency food because of a sudden change or stop in income or benefits, an unexpected bill, prolonged illness and even being victims of fraud,” said Annemarie. “Whatever the reason, no discrimination or judgement will be made to those using the food bank and no charge will be made.”

The service will operate on a voucher system and will receive referrals from the likes of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, childcare agencies and churches.

Donations of non-perishable food can be made at churches and supermarkets.

Suitable items include cereals, tinned meat, fish and vegetables, tea bags, instant coffee, long-life milk, bottled water, fruit juice, squash, pasta, rice, instant mashed potato, biscuits, snack bars, toilet rolls and washing powder.

Organisers will also provide a listening ear, with the help of Sidmouth Help Link, and assist in guiding individuals to other agencies where they can obtain help for a longer term resolution to their difficulties.

? For more information on the food bank, or to volunteer as a helper, e-mail

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