A COMMUNITY group has set up a food bank after winning £1,000 from Bury Council following a public vote.

Tenant and Resident Association (TRA) volunteers at Chesham Fold Community Centre are offering food parcels to some of the most vulnerable people in the borough every Thursday from 10am until 11.30am.

The volunteers wanted to help those in their neighbourhood who were struggling to make ends meet, and were advised by Six Town Housing to present their case for cash help to The Pitch, where local groups ask the public to fund their preferred projects.

The TRA succeeded in July, which has enabled them to run a foodbank in partnership with the charity Caritas, who provide their own team of volunteers to open up the bank and source food donations.

Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “There can hardly be anything more important than providing food to people in financial hardship, and my congratulations go to Chesham TRA for their hard work in bringing this project to fruition.

“Of course, I am concerned that the community felt it was needed in the first place, but a lot of credit should go to groups like Chesham TRA and Porch Boxes for starting these up.

“It is symptomatic of austerity that parts of our community are really suffering.

“It is even more pronounced in winter when people are having to make the decision between heating and eating.

“This is being exacerbated by the roll out of universal credit.

“The feedback I’m getting from the people setting up these food banks is that they are also concerned they are needed.”

Moorside Cllr Sandra Walmsley shared similar concerns.

She said: “Demand for food banks is increasing and that is evident from the increase that are now starting up.

“In this day and age you don’t want to see anyone have to go to a food bank to have to feed their families but it is the reality of austerity. Many people who have to use food banks in Bury are working families who just can’t afford to feed their families.”

Sister Joan O’Gorman from Caritas, who is co-ordinating the service in Chesham, said: “Our Caritas volunteers look forward to welcoming the people of Chesham. The food bank is open every Thursday from 10am to 11.30am, including Christmas week.

“On arrival there is the opportunity of tea or coffee and a chat – with any details we take being held in the strictest confidence - and we also have toys to occupy any young visitors.”

Chesham Fold Community Centre also runs a variety of services, from art to bereavement to women’s support groups, along with a dementia cafe.