New Mills food bank urges people not to be embarrassed if they need help

Volunteers at New Mills food bank are encouraging those who need help to come forward – saying there will be no judgement, only help.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 8:55 am

The team at Helping Hands Foodbank say they understand that it can be difficult to make that first phone call but say they are there to help everyone.

Zena Aris-Sutton, one of the project leaders, said: “Many of the people who phone us for the first time – we know that’s a really difficult call to make – start with saying they’ve never had to do this before, and never dreamed they’d be in this position. You’re not alone.

“I think people worry we are judging them because they need a bit of help.

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Food bank volunteer Zena Aris-Sutton at one of their donation points at the Co-op store

“That is absolutely not the case. We want people to be fed and support them through the difficulties they may be going through.”

The food bank used to be based out of St George’s Parish hall but now operates a delivery service.

Zena said: “For some the delivery service is more discreet but it also meant we could continue to operate through the first lockdown as we didn’t have premises to shut.”

The charity said it had supported more people in 2021 than it did in 2020.

Zena said: “But we don’t just help people who are struggling because of the pandemic.

“We help everyone. A service user could have broken their leg and can’t make their bills on sick pay or their partner has left them and they need that helping hand while they get back on their feet and sort things out.”

Helping Hands, which covers those in financial hardship in New Mills, Hayfield, Furness Vale and Whaley Bridge, make up emergency parcels which last a household for a week.

Zena said: “We do self-referrals and make sure everyone has enough to eat for a week.

“We don’t just push food on people, we ask them if they like tea or coffee and if they take it with sugar. We ask what flavour cordial they like.

“Just because someone is using a food bank does not mean they cannot have a say in what they like or don’t like.”

There are two donation banks in New Mills at Sainsbury’s and the Co-op. Anyone who requires the service of the food bank should call 07425 177999 or text them for a call back.

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