RIBBLE Valley MP Nigel Evans has attacked the ‘stigma’ that the borough ‘isn’t the sort of place’ where a foodbank is needed.
Mr Evans, who visited the borough’s foodbank base in Clitheroe on Friday, said that the people who need a foodbank have always lived in the Ribble Valley and that they are ‘at last’ being addressed.
Over the last 12 months, the Ribble Valley Foodbank, which has 80 volunteers, has fed 1,370 people with a third of them children.
The foodbank, which is operated by the Trussell Trust, has two centres at Trinity Methodist Church Hall in Wesleyan Row, Clitheroe and St Lawrence and St Paul's Church, Longridge.
During a tour with foodbank manager Ruth Haldane, Mr Evans discussed the services provided by the foodbank to local people in crisis need, and the outcomes over the first 12 months.
They also discussed the ways in which the foodbank networks with other agencies in the Ribble Valley to improve the quality of life for their clients.
Mr Evans said that he would contact Frank Field MP, co-chair of the all party parliamentary group on food poverty, to share the Ribble Valley Foodbank experience of serving local people in food poverty in a rural context.
Mr Evans said: “There is a stigma that the Ribble Valley isn’t a place where a foodbank should be needed.
“In fact, very sadly, the people who do need one have always been here and now they are being addressed and helped.
“The work that the volunteers have been doing is absolutely superb and I applaud the thousands of local residents who have donated over the last year.”
Ruth, who helped to open the Clitheroe centre in 2013 and the Longridge centre in January this year, said: “It was a very productive meeting.
“We were able to show him the work that we have been doing over the last year.
“We were also able to tell him about the challenges of being a rural foodbank.
“If there is a spike in people coming to us over the school holidays then we are ready for it.”
Since last July, 21 tons of food has been donated by local people to the foodbank and around 38,000 items of food have been distributed.