Food bank could open in Leeds suburb in months

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A community campaigner is hoping to help bring struggling families in a Leeds suburb some welcome respite by organising its first food bank.

Peter Smith, who lives in John O’Gaunts, is working with the Trussell Trust charity to find a collection venue and storage facilities in the Leeds suburb.

The 66-year-old believes that the project could see a working food bank in Rothwell within a matter of months as a number of interested parties have come forward with potential sites already.

Coun Karen Bruce (Lab, Rothwell), who is chair of Leeds City Council’s Outer South Area Committee, has stated that she has also been holding talks with the charity and is hoping to help move the idea forward with members of the community.

Peter said: “If there’s a need for it I’m happy to be involved.

“You don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, there are all sorts of problems these days, it’s so easy for younger people to get hold of credit cards and get themselves in debt.”

The Trussell Trust runs over 400 UK food banks which give free food parcels to thousands of vulnerable people every year.

Peter, who runs memory cafes for people dementia in Rothwell and Woodlesford, has spent two years raising awareness in a bid to make Rothwell Leeds’ first dementia friendly suburb.

He will attend a reception for community champions with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street this week, having been invited by Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke.

“The dementia friendly thing has gone beyond expectations and it involves a lot of vulnerable people,” he said.

“Two and a half years ago we never expected anything like this, it was just a cup of tea and a chat.”

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