Birmingham City Councillor John Cotton has expressed concern about the demands being placed on food banks in the city.
Launching new collection boxes for a city centre food bank at the Council House, Cllr Cotton voiced concerns over pressures put on local families by welfare reforms and the government’s new ‘bedroom tax’. He recognised the work of local volunteers, saying: ““The challenge for the council and its partners is a big one and I have to pay tribute to the people and organisations that establish and run food banks. Between us we’re doing all we can to mitigate the impact of these changes on the poorest families.”
The Cabinet member for Social Cohesion and Equalities is currently mapping the city’s food banks to help co-ordinate a response to upcoming welfare reforms.
In Northfield, the Life Line Food Bank established by Eternal Life Church at Hollymoor Chapel has only been up and running for a matter of weeks. Pastor Stephen Merrick commented: “When people are referred to Life Line Food Bank they are often penniless, not eaten for sometime, this is often counted in days, they have exhausted themselves and all their normal sources of assistance and they have no idea where to turn next”.
Pastor Merrick has been heartened by the way the community in Northfield has united in order to help establish the Food Bank, with new volunteers and collection points rapidly appearing. Last week Life Line Food Bank provided 20 emergency packs and Pastor Merrick continued: ” we expect that figure to continue to grow rapidly particularly when the effects of the welfare reform act take effect.”
There will also be an open evening for those interested in partnering or volunteering with the food bank this Thursday (28th) at 7pm at Hollymoor Chapel: The Old Chapel, Manor Park Grove, Northfield, B31 5ER (Hollymoor area)