Food projects in Carlisle and Penrith

Unsung heroes who work at eight food projects in the Carlisle and Penrith area to provide meals for those struggling with the cost of living were among those being praised by Cumbrian TV celebrity Helen Skelton.

They included the volunteers from St Barnabas Church in Raffles who are helping feed 55 families a week.

Yvonne Swainson, from St Barnabas Church, wiped away a tear when her team received a plaque. “I think tonight has been wonderful. It is nice to be thanked by your community because it is hard work."

Russell Clark and Debbie Lynch from Friends of Milburn School near Penrith attended the celebration and were presented with a plaque to thank the group for their work.

“Together we help provide food for families around Milburn who are struggling. The people who are coming to collect food are a real mix - some older people, some families with young children. Food poverty in rural areas can be underestimated.

“Quite often these are people that you think will be OK and then you realise that they are struggling,” said Debbie.

“Tonight has been wonderful. It is nice for groups like ours to be thanked for the work we do,” said Russell.

“We have seven volunteers and we’re helping up to 55 families a week. One woman told me that her nine year old daughter is so excited when she goes to the foodbank to see what she brings home. Since I heard that I have been putting in a few sweets in the bag for her,” she said.

Also receiving a plaque last night to recognise their work in the community were a further six projects in Carlisle: Oasis Food Pantry, Brook Street School, Denton Holme Community Centre, Botcherby Community Centre, Petteril Bank Community Centre and Inglewood Nursery and Infant School.