Harrogate District Foodbank: Big-hearted community rallies to replenish vital supplies

Donations poured into the foodbank following their appeal earlier this year
Donations poured into the foodbank following their appeal earlier this year
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After a hard summer, which almost saw the district’s foodbank’s supplies exhausted, the communities of Harrogate rallied behind the charity.

Organisers of the Harrogate District Foodbank say the outpouring of support seen since appealing for donations earlier this year has provided them with enough food to last into the new year.

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Donations of food will now not be accepted until the end of January, thanks to the thousands of individuals, local businesses, schools and community groups from across Harrogate.
Lucy Stewart of HDF said: “It restores your faith in community and in the public, especially when there’s so much other turmoil going on and so many unknowns - whether it’s to do with what is going on politically or people’s personal lives.

“They don’t know where the food will go, but they trust us to make sure it goes to local families in need.
“It’s amazing to see that generosity of the community, coming together to help others who might even be living on the same street or working in the same businesses as them, but have fallen on hard times. “It’s all done anonymously so they won’t know who they are helping, but still they are willing to do it, without recognition.”

Usage at the bank rose by 19 per cent between April and October, compared to the previous year. With the Trussell Trust seeing usage of foodbanks across the country rise by 13 per cent, the district’s demand went ‘above and beyond,’ says Lucy.

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She said: “People mainly use the foodbank for two reasons. The first is low income, and it’s mainly people on Universal Credit, as it’s not enough for people to live off.
“The other reason is that people are undergoing benefit changes. They have a five-week gap when they first apply, and that’s only if the application goes in smoothly.
“If they take an advance payment that is then taken off their award when they get it. If there is an error on their application it can be much longer, so we do see people in that gap.”

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The holiday season is among the busiest at the bank, with the Tuesday before Christmas seeing 50 people collect supplies, while organisers were preparing to support a similar number on the Friday before Christmas.
In a message to all those who donated, Lucy said: “Thank you to all the amazing residents of Harrogate, for keeping us going and so well stocked.”