Chesterfield Foodbank has launched a new session open every Monday evening between 5pm and 6.30pm and hosted by volunteers from the African Caribbean Community Association (ACCA).
The move comes as the charity experienced a 28 per cent rise in the number of people needing help – with distributions of food packages increasing from 854 between January and March 2021 to 1083 in the same period of 2022.
ACCA Chairman Councillor Lud Ramsey, who represents Spire ward at Derbyshire County Council, said the hours of the foodbank have been chosen purposefully to cater for people who work during the day.
He explained that those who work often miss out on benefits despite being on low incomes, and this coupled with the rising cost of living spirals into difficulties paying for basic amenities.
“This shows there’s such a fine line between what people can claim for and what they can’t,” he said.
“If you’re working, you’re paying for everything and if you’re not getting a decent wage or you’re a single parent – if you’re on minimum wage or just over minimum wage – by the time you’ve paid your rent, Council Tax and everything, then on top of that you’ve got your food.”
Coun Ramsey added that electricity and heating were a necessity for families, commenting: “You haven’t got any choice, you need electricity to put lighting on, you need gas to keep you warm.”
Roisin Williams-O’Gorman, of Chesterfield Foodbank, said: “More and more people are having to make the impossible decision between choosing whether to eat or heat.
“We are seeing more people who are needing to use the foodbank for the very first time.
“Also we are supporting people who are in work who simply cannot make ends meet, with the rising cost of living.”
She added that the charity expected the demand for the foodbank to increase as the situation gets worse.
Chesterfield Foodbank now has six services spread across five locations.
This latest foodbank is located at the ACCA in Unit Two of the Penmore Business Centre, in Saxton Close, Hasland, and is open every Monday between 5pm and 6.30pm.
Most people using the foodbank are referred by organisations such as GP surgeries, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and churches, however those needing immediate help can call Help Through Hardship on 0808 208 2138 for a food package.
To donate to Chesterfield Foodbank, visit Give Help | Chesterfield Foodbank