Help with food requests high in Wyre Forest

Kidderminster Shuttle: Help with food: Members of Kidderminster's foodbank prepare the stock room. Buy this photo » Help with food: Members of Kidderminster's foodbank prepare the stock room.

HELP with food is the highest area of demand on Wyre Forest's welfare scheme, figures have shown, as families struggle to feed themselves.

A report to Wyre Forest District Council's overview and scrutiny committee showed 423 requests for food were received under the authoirty's local welfare scheme between April 1 and September 30 this year - 109 were refused.

The committee also heard the amount of money provided to the programme from Worcestershire County Council is set to drop by £2,000 to £240,000 in the next financial year (2014/15), despite the demand.

Foodbank vouchers are issued as part of the scheme for use at Baxter Church-based Kidderminster Foodbank, where they can be exchanged for three days worth of food. The main reason for refusal was repeated requests, as just three vouchers can be issued in any six month period.

Access to housing, which includes help providing furniture, bedding, cutlery and cookery, was the second highest area of demand on the welfare scheme, mainly to assist those who have moved out of furnished privately-rented housing into unfurnished social housing.

People who had to move due to relationship breakdowns or to flee domestic violence were also provided with help.

Figures showed 126 requests for furniture were approved, with 46 sofas, 43 microwaves, 40 wardrobes and 19 double beds among items handed out with help from the British Heart Foundation and Forces Support charities.

Residents whose pleas were refused were given advice, support and names of other agencies who could assist, according to the report.

Welfare staff also received 37 requests for help with energy and utilities, with 25 refused.

Meanwhile volunteers at the foodbank have praised the generosity of Wyre Forest residents after an appeal at Tesco stores in Kidderminster and Stourport collected 1.5 tonnes of food and added Christmas items.

Kidderminster Foodbank opens at Baxter Church in Kidderminster town centre on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12.30pm until 3.30pm and Fridays between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

Anyone needing help can call 07523 896280, 01562 746600 or email kiddyfb188@gmail.com.

The Shuttle’s Blackwell Street office is also a donation point.

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