Plans unveiled for second Mexborough food bank

Sean Gibbons (r) and Tommy Joyce, of Food Aware with actress Sally Carman. Picture: Andrew Roe
Sean Gibbons (r) and Tommy Joyce, of Food Aware with actress Sally Carman. Picture: Andrew Roe

Plans have been unveiled to open a second food bank in Mexborough just weeks after the first one opened.

Food AWARE boss Sean Gibbons launched his food bank at the end of November - but less than a fortnight later former councillor David Holland revealed plans to open a Trussell Trust food bank in the same town.

Both schemes are intended to offer food parcels to those struggling on the breadline.

Mr Gibbons criticised Mr Holland’s plans this week and said there is no need to open a second one.

The 40-year-old, of Park Road, Mexborough, said: “It will be a duplication of service and is very likely to cause unnecessary confusion to potential beneficiaries, front-line agency referrals and public donors. There are other local deprived communities, for example Denaby Main, which would benefit from a food bank service rather than duplicating something in Mexborough.”

Mr Holland said the projects should not be compared to each other as the Trussell Trust food bank would offer parcels for free unlike Mr Gibbons’, in which people are asked to make a donation.

But he stressed he did not want to criticise other food banks and added: “ Trussell Trust food banks should not be compared to such organisations. They are very different.

“The Trussell Trust is a charity and its food banks are run by volunteers that serve food free of charge only to genuinely needy people referred to them by professionals.”

Mr Gibbons’ food bank asks service users to make a £2.50 donation for a food hamper, containing tins and packets of food, such as beans, pasta and soup, along with fruit and vegetables, that can last for up to three days.

The donation goes back into Food AWARE coffers and will be used to cover other costs to keep the food bank running.

Mr Gibbons added: “We ask for a donation but those in need will be supported regardless. We take in food that supermarkets do not want to help support the project. Any money made goes back into the scheme to make it sustainable. “I have had meetings with community leaders, Citizens Advice Bureau, the job centre and other organisations who can refer people to us in need. People can also do self-referrals by providing evidence such as benefits details to show they are in need of a food parcel.”

The Mexborough food bank is the seventh Food AWARE has opened across South Yorkshire.

Parcels can be picked up from the Food Factory, Pastures Road, Mexborough, on Fridays from 11am to 1pm. It will resume on January 9.

Mr Holland said the Doncaster Trussell Trust Food Bank is fully behind his plans to open a Mexborough one.

He added he is currently looking for a venue in Mexborough and is also appealing for volunteers to come forward to help run the project.

Mr Holland said: “The Trussell Trust gives out vouchers for enough food for a family for three days which can then be redeemed at the food bank.

“At present Mexborough people have to be referred to Doncaster. Once I have the food bank set up, Mexborough destitute people will not have the expense of travelling to Doncaster.

“Trussell Trust food banks do not charge for food parcels which are only given to those in dire need.”

The Trussell Trust is a charity founded on Christian principles. A total of 423 have so far been launched nationwide.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the project can contact mr Holland by email at davidhollanduk@gmail.com or ring 07871 166356.