Published: 00:00, 14 February 2019
An impassioned plea for funding for Sandwich Foodbank has persuaded councillors to think again.
Volunteer Christina Quinn addressed members at last month’s full council meeting after the service’s application for a £3,000 grant from Sandwich Toll Bridge Fund was rejected.
It was turned down because not enough people from Sandwich are using the foodbank to warrant such funds, town clerk Laura Fidler has confirmed.
Ms Quinn said: “Not enough people are using the foodbank?
“I don’t know what not enough is? One person hungry might be one too many.”
During her three-minute speech at Sandwich Guildhall, she highlighted that Deal Area Foodbank - of which Sandwich is one of five branches - receives no funding from the Trussel Trust and it is wholly reliant on gift aid and private financial donations.
She said: “Last year 99 vouchers were redeemed. 169 adults and 123 children, but not enough people are using the foodbank?
“The Trussel Trust gives not a penny.
“Please with respect I would like you to rethink your decision as we have people in Sandwich who are reliant.”
She explained that any one family only gets a maximum of three vouchers with one voucher providing three days of emergency food.
She said: “If you have been switched onto Universal Credit and are waiting four to five weeks before they give you Universal Credit, but they can only have three days emergency supply.
“I don’t see what else they do?
“These are not repeats. These families have to be referred by the CAB, social services. They’re even getting regular pensioners turning up without vouchers. Please reconsider.”
The local Labour Party chairman, Jeffrey Loffman, felt the decision not to support the foodbank was “an abnegation of responsibility.”
He said: “If one person in our community, never mind a child or a pensioner, needs foodbank support, it is shameful not to help if it is within our means to do so.
“It is to the detriment of the town council, being too miserly to provide even a one-off payment, and brings into sharp relief their concern for members of our community.”
Sandwich Town Councillor David Wood has since made an appeal to trustees of Sandwich Toll Bridge Fund on the matter and it will be reconsidered at a meeting on Monday, February 25.
He said: “It’s appalling that people in and around Sandwich are suffering through the roll-out of Universal Credit even though they may be in work just because the methods of introducing Universal Credit are completely callous.”