Foodbank expansion will feed 3,200 more hungry people in Leeds per week

Gareth Batty, (left) chief Executive  FareShare Yorkshire, and  Leeds South and East with Lindsay Boswell Chief Executive FareShare Yorkshire   at  the FareShare Yorkshire  and Leeds South & East   warehouse in Leeds.
Gareth Batty, (left) chief Executive FareShare Yorkshire, and Leeds South and East with Lindsay Boswell Chief Executive FareShare Yorkshire at the FareShare Yorkshire and Leeds South & East warehouse in Leeds.
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Two local food charities have relocated to bigger premises which will enable them help feed an additional 3,200 people in need each week across Leeds.

Yesterday, FareShare Yorkshire and Leeds South & East Foodbank opened a new warehouse in Parkside Industrial Estate - almost twice the size of their previous premises.

PIC: Gary Longbottom

PIC: Gary Longbottom

Asda is ploughing £20m over three years into its nationwide Fight Hunger Create Change programme with FareShare and the Trussell Trust which manages the local Leeds foodbanks - and it is the supermarket chain and Leeds City Council that have enabled the Leeds expansion.

FareShare works with 200 community groups and charities to deliver food at homeless hostels, school breakfast clubs and elderly lunch clubs and says it will now be able to take on requests from 27 extra groups - equating to 2,889 vulnerable people a week.

Leeds South & East Foodbank anticipates it will increase its number of beneficiaries by 45 per cent within the next year. It regularly dishes out half a tonne of food in a two hour session where they see, on average, 30 people.

The bigger warehouse also has two huge fridges so food parcels can now include chilled foods in addition to tins and packets.

John Casey, Chair of Leeds South & East Foodbank, said: “We have barely been able to keep pace with the increase in the take-up. On our evidence, poverty in the city is getting worse.

“The trend since we opened in 2013 has been constantly upwards but has ramped up in the last 18 months. For many it is a choice between food on the table and a roof over their heads.”