Archbishop of Wales blames “broken society” for rise in foodbanks

OFFICIAL OPENING: (from left) The Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, Vale Foodbank co-ordinator Susan Lloyd-Selby, Father Ben Andrews, and Vale Am Jane Hutt (4306744)

FOODBANK: A selection of some of the food available at foodbanks (4306746)

First published in News

THE ARCHBISHOP of Wales has said a “broken society” is to blame for a rise in people needing to use foodbanks.

The Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, said that he was “very glad but also very sad” to be at the official opening of the Vale Foodbank at St Mary’s Church on Holton Road earlier this morning,

“It is tremendous that in our society there is still people that care enough about others to do something practical about it and bring food to places like this,” he said.

“I’m very proud of the fact that the church is the vanguard of helping people that are down on their luck.”

However, he added: “I’m very sad to be here and the fact that such a thing is needed at all.

“What is it about our society that people are so desperate that they have got nowhere else to turn to? This was set up to provide help in Bulgaria and they never envisaged they would be needed in a country like this.

“People that are so desperate to come to a foodbank tend to be honest people that are really at their wits end as they really don’t know where the next meal is coming from. They must make the choice of whether to feed their families or pay their bills.

“That’s a reflection on all of us. We are a broken society in some ways.

“That’s a terrible statement about what’s happening in our society.”

St Mary’s Church, in the heart of Barry, will be the fourth centre in the area set up by the Vale Foodbank and the second in Barry. It is being opened in response to rising demand and will be run by volunteers from the local churches. They will provide packages of donated food to people who haven’t got enough to eat.

Susan Lloyd-Selby, Vale Foodbank co-ordinator, said during the opening of the new foodbank earlier today: “It’s very sad that we are in the seventh wealthiest nation in the world and need another foodbank in Barry.”

She added that since the foodbank service was set up in the more than 57,000kg of food had been distributed to those in need and said that the amount of donations they had received was “absolutely incredible” and she was “overwhelmed by the generosity of local people”.

She added that recently there had been a 40 per cent increase in referrals due to a range of reasons, including low income, debt and benefit payment delays, and that they had now fed more than 6,000 local people in crisis.

“We are continuing to see an increase in the number of people referred to us for support; particularly young people who cannot find employment and hard-working people on low income who have been hit by the bedroom tax,” she said.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to access emergency food support and are very grateful to Father Ben Andrews for his support in enabling us to open a new centre in St Mary's Church, Holton Road, Barry.”

Vale AM Jane Hutt, who was also a guest speaker at the opening, praised the location of the foodbank “in the heart of Barry” on Holton Road and its close proximity to the likes of the Citizens Advice Bureau and Credit Union.

Vale MP Alun Cairns added that he was a “huge supporter” of foodbanks and that they offer “fantastic support” to people.

St Mary’s distribution centre will be open on Friday afternoons. The three other Vale foodbanks are in Barry, Dinas Powys and Llantwit Major.

For more information e-mail valefoodbank@ymail.com or phone 07879 562077.

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