Market produce adds variety to food parcels

David Cookson (fruit and veg stall), Rebecca Whittaker (butchers) and Tony Alderson (fish stall) at Leyland Market
David Cookson (fruit and veg stall), Rebecca Whittaker (butchers) and Tony Alderson (fish stall) at Leyland Market

Families who rely on food banks to feed their children are now being offered more variety in their parcels – from Leyland Market.

Up until now, kind-hearted citizens have only been able to donate canned and dried foods to the banks, organised by the Leyland Churches Together group, meaning that those in need are not given a balanced diet of fresh foods.

Now, a new scheme is being trialled which will allow people to donate vouchers for Leyland Market to the food banks too, allowing those in need to buy fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.

The idea came from some of South Ribble’s Labour councillors, who have been hearing from more and more families struggling financially as a result of the national changes to the benefits system.

Coun Derek Forrest, who represents Leyland Central, said: “The food banks are mainly for tins and dried food, but our idea is to offer fresh foods as well, which is why we have approached Leyland Market.

“We thought if they could provide vouchers which people can buy from the market and then donate to the food banks, these families will be able to buy fruit, veg, fish and meat for themselves.

“Whittaker’s the butchers already does vouchers, but we want other stalls to do the same.

“The traders have donated £50 worth of vouchers to the cause to start things off.

“I suppose it’s a good way of seeing if it’s worthwhile, but it is something we are wanting to introduce in the long-term with Churches Together.”

The Churches Together in Leyland charity collects around 54 parcels every fortnight, mainly from St Mary’s RC Parish Church in Broadfield Drive, and the number of people coming to them for help is increasing.

Chairman of Churches Together in Leyland, Margaret Dixon, said: “These people have nowhere else to turn, and the changes to the benefits system along with increased numbers of redundancies means that they just cannot make ends meet.

“They might have some savings, but that doesn’t last long if they have mortgages to pay and no money coming in.

“These food parcels mean a lot to these people.”