Roger and local Councillor for Springfield ward, Habib Rehman, together with Gulbahar Khan, a member of Roger’s staff, paid a visit to the Sparkhill Foodbank recently. The foodbank was set up in February and is staffed by volunteers. Over 40 referral agencies including Job Centres, the Red Cross, Children’s centres, the Refugee Council and schools refer clients to the centre which has been open since February 2012. Since that time they have issued over 400 food parcels which have supported over 1,000 people who are supplied with three days worth of nutritionally balanced food.
The main reasons why people are referred to the foodbank is because of the changes or delays in payment of benefits; being homeless or having a low income; or losing their jobs and over half the referrals are people living alone with over a quarter being lone parent households.
Said Roger “The Foodbank, which is based in Bard Street Sparkhill, is playing an increasing daily role in sustaining some of the most vulnerable groups in our society and I have nothing but the greatest admiration for the dedication and commitment of the volunteers and staff who are working at the centre”.
He went on to say: “What makes me angry, however, is that in a country like Britain, which has the 7th largest economy in the world, we have to resort to foodbanks in order to sustain people and families who do not have enough income to feed themselves and their families."
He continued: "I have seen images of the soup kitchens which were set up in America and Britain during the last great depression in the 1930s but I never thought that 80 years further on we would need to have foodbanks in order to feed people who, along with many other sections of society, have been the innocent victims.”