New food bank set to open in West Leeds

St John's Church, Wortley. Photo: Katherine Turner

By Katherine Turner

St John’s Church in Wortley has stepped up to create a new food bank after nearby Farnley’s food bank closed. 

There is an increased demand for food banks, close to 3 million emergency food parcels were distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network in the last 12 months. Between April 2022 and March 2023 the number of people using a food bank for the first time was 760,000.

The Reverend Chris Balding told WLD: “We’re really looking forward to partnering with the Leeds North and West Trussell Trust to host a food bank at St John’s.

“It has started for two reasons, Cllr Mark Sewards approached us as the food bank in Farnley was closing and asked if we’d be interested in running a foodbank. We’re also really keen to run the foodbank as there is so much need around at the moment and the teachings of Jesus tell us to love our neighbour.”

Working together with The Trussell Trust volunteers are undergoing training on 15 April, with the food bank opening on 22 April. It will be open at St John’s church every Monday between 12pm and 2pm.

Volunteers are always welcome. The Trussell Trust said they are looking for people to be the welcoming face of the food bank, to enjoy meeting people and be friendly and caring while supporting those in crisis.

The church hopes to offer additional help to those in need. Rev Balding added: “To be able to offer our church building to be used to serve the community and provide a space for welcome and hospitality is part of our vision going forwards. We’ll be helping anyone experiencing food poverty.

“We’re also hoping to have Money Buddies come in to offer simple money skills to those who come and use the foodbank. There is so much need at the moment this is our small way of playing our part in seeking to create a more just society and ensuring that the church is serving the community around us. If people want to get involved the best way is via the Trussell Trust website.”

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