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Demand for Grantham Foodbank soars as children lose free school meals during summer break

More families are turning to Grantham Foodbank as children lose access to free school meals during the summer holiday.

The situation has become so concerning that the foodbank is appealing for more support and donations to get it through the next month.

Foodbank co-ordinator Brian Hanbury said: “We are very busy. Summer is here and there are no school meals available. For struggling families this means having to find extra funds to feed their children.

Branch manager Sophie Beck and Samantha Quayle at their foodbank drop off point at Nottingham Building Society in Grantham. (14560417)
Branch manager Sophie Beck and Samantha Quayle at their foodbank drop off point at Nottingham Building Society in Grantham. (14560417)

“In the last couple of Fridays alone, we have seen mums with new babies and lots of large families. We have also had mums that have had to give up their income over the summer to look after their children and will not get any support for five to eight weeks.

“We saw a 43 per cent increase in child support last year and we were hoping that the growth had come to an end, but we have seen a further 23 per cent growth between January and June of this year.”

To try and help, Grantham Baptist Church is hosting a family lunch club for one week this month to help withchild poverty over the summer.

Brian added: “We are looking for more groups to do the same so, hopefully, by next year we can have the whole summer covered.”

South Kesteven District Council has provided Grantham Foodbank with a grant for £3,000 following cross-party support for a motion put forward by Grantham Labour councillor Charmaine Morgan earlier this year.

In March, Coun Morgan requested that the council make a £10,000 donation to foodbanks, which was increased to £15,000 by council leader Matthew Lee on the condition it benefited foodbanks across the district.

Councillor Louise Clack, ward member for Grantham Earlesfield, said: “The summer holidays should be a time for all children to enjoy a break from school. Bug-hunts and forest adventures. Ice-creams on the beach and paddling in the sea and lazy picnics in the park, but for too many children, the relentless reality of the summer holidays is four walls and meals made up from a foodbank parcel.

“If we work together we can make a difference to the children of Grantham.

“Please support the foodbank and your local community initiatives. Let’s build our community together.”

The council grant, alongside an additional £500 from St Mary’s Church in Bottesford, will help provide 3,500 meals, but the foodbank still needs more to cater for the growing demand for emergency food parcels.

Brian said: “We are working so hard to keep on top of the food coming in and we thank everyone for their support. We couldnt do it without the community. We are having to put our nets out further for another 5,000 meals to be provided.

“We predict that we will need approximately 17 tonnes of food to get us through to Christmas.”

The foodbank will be hosting a collection at Asda tomorrow (Saturday) between 9am and 1pm, where volunteers hope to collect approximately one tonne of food.

The summer holiday family lunch club will run at the baptist church in Wharf Road from Monday, August 26 to Friday, August 30 at noon. Families wishing to book a place can email g.b.c_ad@outlook.com

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