Helen Skelton tells Kinder Kitchens volunteers: You’re all awesome

Published on
23 November 2023

Helen Skelton was the guest speaker when almost 100 volunteers from 40 vital community food projects across Cumbria and Lancashire attended the ‘Celebration of Kindness’ event.

All give their time to run food banks, food hubs, pantries, breakfast clubs and kitchens - which are a lifeline to thousands hit by high food, energy and living costs.

Helen Skelton told them: “I am in awe of you here tonight. Food poverty is such a huge issue which isn’t going away anytime soon, but the commitment and enthusiasm you all have for helping your communities is inspiring.”

Reflecting on the celebration evening, Helen said: “Tonight has been a wonderful celebration and a brilliant acknowledgement of what is essentially lots of small acts of kindness that have such a huge impact on our communities

“It is one of those evenings where hopefully everyone will leave feeling very buoyed and energised, but definitely very humbled and inspired.”

Guests enjoyed a meal, and each project was presented with a plaque recognising their work fighting food poverty in their communities.

The event, which took place at the North Lakes Hotel in Penrith, was laid on by The Cumberland as part of its Kinder Kind of Kitchens initiative.

The Carlisle-based building society donated £250,000 this year to the charity FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria, providing funding for a network of local food banks and food projects and helping them expand their services.

Research by The Cumberland found a 30 per cent increase in people using food banks in Cumbria’s main towns and a 75 per cent increase in people using rural food banks. And data supplied to The Cumberland shows that food poverty is one of the biggest concerns for Cumbrians caught in the cost of living crisis.

FareShare redistributes surplus food from the food industry to charities and community groups like food banks, which support people in need. It says demand is rising due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, and that FareShare projects in Cumbria and Lancashire have supplied 2.4 million meals to people in need over the past 12 months.

Find out more from some of the organisations who attended the celebration evening.