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‘The demand is massive and it’s not going away’: Lancs’ food poverty battle

Written by on February 25, 2021

Millions of free meals have been distributed across Lancashire and Cumbria during the coronavirus pandemic as some of its residents are hit harder than ever as a result of the deadly disease.

And the message now is that demand will not disappear overnight on June 21; the provisional date for the end of lockdown in the United Kingdom.

“In 2019, we gave out around one million meals,” said Alasdair Jackson, Chief Executive of Recycling Lives which oversees Fareshare operations in the two North West counties.

“In 2020 as a whole, it rose to three million give or take. That’s how much demand has increased by.”

The third national lockdown from January 2021 has seen demand once again increase in Lancashire and Cumbria, with around 200 organisations now using Fareshare’s services in the two counties.

Prior to the first lockdown, this stood at around 170.

“The demand is massive and I don’t see it going away for a while,” Alasdair told LancsLive.

“Even after lockdown is finished the economy is still going to be hit massively. The issue for is making sure services are kept going.”

As part of its £100m Covid-19 Community Aid Package, Barclays is helping tackle food poverty by supporting Fareshare.

For every £1 donated, Barclays will donate £2, up to a total of £1million – click here to find out how you can donate.

In Lancashire, the majority of service users visit the Fareshare headquarters on the Red Scar Industrial Estate at Preston.

It is a different set up for Cumbria, with five delivery points set up across the county for vehicles to deliver goods from Preston up the M6.

Alasdair said: “People don’t realise that Fareshare is totally reliant on funding. We are not paid by anyone. We charge a small fee to users but it doesn’t cover costs. We do this because it’s the right thing to do.

“It’s vital for our survival that we get more funding. If everyone decides on June 21 that everything is now okay it puts us at risk.”

The branch is always in need of volunteers, which includes driving its vehicles to Cumbria delivery points.

“Our volunteers are an essential and highly valued part of our operation, each bringing different skills and experiences to deliver our vital service,” volunteer manager Vivienne Ashurst said.

“In return for their time we support each volunteer to enjoy their own benefits from the experience, whether that’s supporting job seekers to develop transferable skills or ensuring retired professionals can use their experience to help communities.

“Volunteering can be a transformative experience for anyone – it is a way to develop skills or meet new people as well as give back to your community and help others. We’re hoping to hear from anyone who’d like to help us to feed people most in-need in these challenging times.”

For every £1 donated, Barclays will donate £2, up to a total of £1m – click here to find out how you can donate.

How you can volunteer at Fareshare Lancashire & Cumbria

Apply to volunteer here

Tel: 01772 665958

Email: fareshare@recyclinglives.org or Jeff.Green@recyclinglives.com

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