The Well Communities in Barrow

In South Cumbria, Ged Pickersgill is the business development lead at The Well Communities and since 2018 the charity has been working with FareShare to provide Wellfed weekly food clubs at The Greengate Centre in Barrow and Bram Longstaffe Community Hub on Barrow Island.

He said: “Our members can access fresh produce and a variety of cupboard staples each week for just £3.

“There is also a full package of wellbeing support which underpins our food clubs and weekly activities outside food club provision that members can access. We currently support around 50 families who are experiencing food poverty and the demand is only going one way.”

The Wellfed food clubs rely entirely on volunteers, who collect over 40 trays of food each week and organise its distribution, and they have noticed that as people struggle more and more financially, they are having to reprioritise.

“People often sacrifice things like toothpaste, shampoo, and other hygiene products, which is totally unacceptable in our society,” Ged explained.

“The generous donation from The Cumberland means we can put more health and hygiene packs together for our members and purchase additional food goods.

“We understand how difficult things are for a lot of families and individuals due to the cost of living crisis, and we also recognise that asking for help can be hard.

“We don’t judge anyone and you don’t have to prove you are in a difficult situation, we just want to ensure no one goes hungry in our region.”

Thirty six other projects across the county are also set to benefit from The Cumberland’s £250,000 donation, including Denton Holme Community Centre, Aspatria Dream Scheme and Petteril Bank Primary School as well as Flookburgh Community Food Club, Millom Food Pantry and Grange over Sands Community Foodshare.

The building society’s chief customer officer Claire Deekes recently visited one the projects, Kendal’s People Café, and was humbled by the experience.

She said: “It’s so inspiring to see the great work people are doing to help others facing food poverty, which is becoming a growing problem. Our research showed a significant increase in foodbank and community kitchen usage and it’s great to hear that our partnership with FareShare is helping alleviate some of the pressures that food projects are facing.”

Every one of FareShare’s Community Food Members in Cumbria, and some in Lancashire, will get a share of the donation.

This money is helping serve hot meals and provide food to people in the region who are experiencing food poverty.

Alasdair Jackson, chief executive of Recycling Lives Social Enterprise, said: “The demand is higher than ever. Many of the people visiting food banks and food clubs are those who would never have considered it before. They are working people in skilled occupations who just can’t afford to feed their families because of the cost of living crisis we are in. No one should have to worry how they will eat tonight. We’re very grateful to The Cumberland and we look forward to a long and fruitful future working together.”