Tunbridge Wells is a wealthy borough but there are areas suffering poverty: for example 17% of children live in poverty* (where the level of household income is 60% of the median household income). That’s 4,000 children, or 6 children in every class.
The Nourish Community Food Bank has become a vital service to low income households who can’t make ends meet once they have paid their bills, and those individuals and families hit by welfare benefit cuts or unemployment.
Why do people need emergency food? 32% are short because of benefit changes, 17% because of domestic abuse, 10% through illness/accident. Only 7% of recipients are unemployed.**
Nourish, a registered charity, was set up 5 years ago with the mantra “no one need be hungry in Tunbridge Wells”. They sort and date order food in the Big Yellow Storage warehouse in Tunbridge Wells, and pack it into food parcels. Volunteers provide doorstep delivery.
Through the generosity of the public, supermarkets, local businesses, churches and community groups, Nourish are able to support over 4,500 people a year***. With the increase in cost of living and the implementation of Universal Credits in the borough in October 2018, Nourish anticipate increasing hardship.
Recipients are referred by frontline organisations such as GP surgeries and Citizen’s Advice. Most people only need a 3-day emergency supply of food; others can receive up to 12 food bags in a year. Nourish refers people with longer-term problems to other agencies.
TW Alliance applauds the two incredibly hard working part time staff at Nourish, and the volunteers, who sort and deliver food to people down on their luck.
Read more here: www.nourishcommunityfoodbank.org.uk
* End Poverty www.endchildpoverty.crg.uk/poverty-in-your-area-2016/
** Nourish Annual Figures 2016-17.
*** 4,614 people in the year to March 2017.