Food projects in West Cumbria

Helen Skelton has praised the unsung heroes who work at fourteen West Cumbrian food projects to provide meals for those struggling with the cost of living at a special night of thanks for the volunteers.

Among the projects celebrated on the night was Copeland and Allerdale Occupational & Social Centres which support adults with disabilities in Cleator Moor and Cockermouth.

The staff, volunteers and trustees who attended were presented with a plaque to thank them for their work.

Carer Hayley Dixon said: “We help around 35 adults with a variety of disabilities, cooking food and hosting activities such as baking lessons which help them lead more independent lives.

“It has been an amazing evening - it is lovely to be appreciated.”

Another group commended for their work were the volunteers at Northside Community Centre who included Workington mayor Beth Dixon and her husband, Gary, and daughter, Amy, who helps in the school holidays.

Gary, chairman of the community centre, said, “We are helping up to 20 people every week - people who have no money and pensioners who need help. We really got involved with FareShare during the lockdown and now I am giving about three hours a day to help those in need.”

Beth said: “We didn’t know what to expect from this evening, but it has been lovely to be thanked by the community. It has given us a boost as Gary has been ill recently - although he was still trying to organise things from his hospital bed.”

Also at the event were Christians Against Poverty who deliver food to families around Whitehaven every week.

Volunteer David Linstead was among those from CAP Whitehaven attending. “We deliver food each week to families and quite often that is just the start of the help we can give them.

“Many people need help with repairing their lives, tackling debt or emotional help. Our mentors are showing them how they can take control of their lives so the food is an important part of what we do, but it leads to a lot more.

“I’ve been helping for about seven years. The support we are getting from the Cumberland means we can buy extra food when it’s needed,” he said.

Other West Cumbrian organisations to receive a plaque last night to recognise their work in the community were: Calderwood House, the Phoenix Enterprise Centre, Distington Action Against Hunger, Aspatria Dreamscheme and Youth Club, the Oval Food Pantry, Derwent Rotary Club, South Workington Youth Partnership and Harriston Village Hall.