A councillor in North Yorkshire provided a funding boost to a local foodbank after donations dropped amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Cllr Joy Andrews, North Yorkshire Council’s member for Pickering, provided a cash boost of £1,000 to Ryedale Community Foodbank, allowing it to continue its vital work.

The foodbank has seen a soar in demand due to the rise in the cost of living, a council spokesperson said.

Volunteers at the foodbank have seen a rise in referrals for families struggling not only for food, but everyday items including cleaning products, washing powder and toiletries.

These items are not routinely included in donations, the spokesperson added.

York Press: Ryedale Community Foodbank’s volunteers play a vital role to ensure thousands of hungry people are fed each year and have access to everyday essentialsRyedale Community Foodbank’s volunteers play a vital role to ensure thousands of hungry people are fed each year and have access to everyday essentials (Image: North Yorkshire Council)

Each North Yorkshire councillor has a budget of £10,000 a year to allow them to respond to local needs by supporting specific community-led activities.

Each councillor is responsible for determining how they wish to promote and use the budget, before seeking approval from the council.

Cllr Andrews said the foodbank is a “much needed” service and she was grateful to have “such dedicated” volunteers willing to help the community.

“This group has seen a drop in donations from the supermarket collection points as the cost of living and recent mortgage rises have led to those who have not been affected by the cost-of-living crisis previously now cutting back with their donations,” she said.

“Money can also give the group the flexibility to buy products that aren’t necessarily donated but are needed, such as feminine products for teenage girls and toothpaste, shampoo, toiletries and so on.”

Ryedale Community Foodbank began operating as an independent foodbank in April 2022 to succeed the discontinued Ryedale Foodbank (Trussell Trust).

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Run entirely by volunteers, it consists of three hubs serving local communities in Norton, Malton, Pickering and Kirkbymoorside.

Each hub is operated entirely by volunteers. There are currently 19 volunteers serving communities in Pickering.

Local resident and trustee of the foodbank Alan Robinson, who has been volunteering at the facility for the past five years, said: “We are seeing people who would never have dreamt of coming to us before. Many are desperate and, sadly, the situation is not getting any better.

“We try to provide food parcels to those in need in the local area from local food donations, but there are inevitably shortfalls in some items of food, toiletries and cleaning materials at times and we need to use cash donations and funding from RCF to purchase items to supplement donations.”

He said the funding from Cllr Andrews gave volunteers the “independence to purchase items locally as required and retain self-sufficiency in Pickering”.

“The funding therefore provides a huge amount of help to struggling families in the Pickering area,” Alan added.

  • The Hungate Centre in Pickering is open every Thursday from 4pm to 6pm. Volunteers are in attendance from 2.30pm to 6.30pm, collecting and accepting donations of food, registering and storing food, preparing food parcels, welcoming clients, talking to and signposting clients and occasionally delivering food parcels.