Shropshire Star

Shropshire food bank helped a record number of people in one week

A community food bank in rural south Shropshire is helping a record number of people as the cost of living crisis takes an ever tightening grip.

Andy Stelman with fellow volunteers at Bishop’s Castle Community Food Bank

But organisers say they are blessed with a caring community who are continuing to make donations to help their neighbours with much needed items.

"On Tuesday and Thursday this week we saw a total of 138 different people which is the highest number we have seen in one week," said Andy Stelman, of Bishop's Castle Community Food Bank.

"Unfortunately it beats the 125 people we saw in a single week a few weeks ago."

Andy says the relentless rise in people needing help is down to ever-increasing prices in the shops, and the sky high cost of energy.

Feed a Family:

"Bishop's Castle is a beautiful little town and in many senses it is a rural idyll but it masks the nature of rural poverty," he said.

"People do not sleep in doorways but we have people who bivvy in the woods in these temperatures, perhaps one or two rough sleepers.

"Many of the people who come to us are carers, people who work in the care sector on limited incomes. We also do not just cover Bishop's Castle, we have lots of people who come to us from Bucknell, Clun and Clunbury."

But luckily the food bank is continuing to receive donations from its caring community.

Mr Stelman said: "People are responding brilliantly. I am overwhelmed by their response every day, I am getting two or three phone calls every day from people who want to donate supplies or money. We are blessed with a very caring community."

The food bank, which opens on Tuesdays from 10am to 11.30am and Thursdays from 2.30pm to 4pm, is based at Church Barn, in Church Lane, Bishop's Castle.

It also doubles up as a warm space for the local community to drop in for a cup of warm drink and a festive mince pie.

Within the last couple of weeks they have also started to offer blood pressure checks and nutritional advice from a local nurse.

"People are taking advantage of it and the nurse is great about talking to them about things" said Andy.

The food bank has also been running a reverse advent calendar to increase its profile locally and to generate more donations.

"You don't have to donate exactly what is on the calendar," said Andy.

The food bank can be contacted via its Facebook page Bishop's Castle Community Food Bank or by phoning Andy on 07773 006413.