Call to Cameron over Food Banks

b12-1342 Bedford Food Bank packing food parcels for those in need of food in Bedforshire.
b12-1342 Bedford Food Bank packing food parcels for those in need of food in Bedforshire.

A scheme which helps struggling families who cannot afford food has criticised the Prime Minister over comments that it shouldn’t be needed.

Simon Badman, of the Bedford Food Bank claimed this week that the group has seen in upsurge in families seeking help, and that David Cameron’s recent comments that benefits are sufficient to pay for all expenses, are just not rooted in reality.

He said: “I would tell him to visit a Food Bank. Food Banks have been recognised as part of the Big Society that he is trying to create and he might be able to get an insight into some of the issues that local people here in Bedford are experiencing. It would be great if he wanted to come and visit Bedford.”

He added: “This comment is just incredibly ill-advised, his colleagues, including our MP Richard Fuller, are fully fledged supporters. If he had a look at less-affluent areas, even in Bedford we are seeing huge increases.”

Bedford Food Bank started in 2011 and provides three days worth of food at a time to families and individuals in need. The organisation has 30 permanent volunteers and accepts donations from members of the public at Tesco, Riverfield Drive and Sainsbury’s, Fairfield Park.

The Bedford Food Bank helps on average 40 separate families a week.

Mr Badman added: “We had a mum who had to come to us to feed her family because she had cancer and was travelling to receive treatment and had to give up her job.

“The longer the Food Bank goes on we notice more diverse issues and problems, not just people on benefits but in society in general.

“What we are keen to do is link people up with other agencies in the town who can help too.”

The Times & Citizen contacted Downing Street to ask them about Mr Cameron’s views, and were referred to an earlier statement he made on the subject.

In Prime Minister’s Questions last week Mr Cameron said: “Only yesterday, I was discussing the matter with the person who runs the Food Bank in my constituency, which I will be visiting very shortly.

“He pointed out to me that the food bank was established five years ago, and it is worth remembering that Food Bank use went up 10 times under the last Labour government.

“Instead of criticising people who run Food Banks, we should thank them for the work they do.”

Park Woodfine Solicitors will be holding a charity quiz night in aid of Bedford Food Bank at The White Horse, in Newnham Avenue on February 20.

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