A FOOD poverty conference is set to be held in the Ribble Valley for the first time.

The conference has been organised by the ecumenical group of Christians in Clitheroe, Clitheroe Christians in Partnership (CCP) and the Christian Aid and CAFOD activists in the Ribble Valley.

The groups have called the conference, entitled ‘Free a Friend’, to discuss the issue of food poverty in the Ribble Valley and beyond.

Among the speakers at the public event will be Ruth Haldane, the Ribble Valley Foodbank manager, Jim Cook from Clitheroe-based charity The Solomon Project and Rev Andrew Whitehead from St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Clitheroe.

Dave Hardman from Christian Aid and Fred Uttley, a CAFOD volunteer, will also speak at the event at the St Mary’s Centre in Church Street, Clitheroe, on Saturday, May 10, from 9.30am.

The conference comes as the Ribble Valley Food Bank announced that it had fed 1,000 people since opening it’s two sites in Clitheroe and Longridge.

A spokesman from the ‘Feed a Friend’ conference said: “Food poverty is an issue which affects all communities.

“With the rise in the use of food banks in the UK, it has become clear that this is a problem which cannot be ignored.

“Recently published research from DEFRA adds weight to claims of bodies like the Trussell Trust; that food poverty is a real issue in the UK.

“These speakers will remind us about the issue of global food poverty, and try to make links between the UK picture and the global problem.

“As we start Christian Aid week, what is the relationship between the people who are hungry in Lancashire and the people who are hungry in the developing world?”

Rev Whitehead will chair the conference.