A charity providing food for families and individuals in financial crisis is opening a new branch in Barnet following high demand since the start of the UK recession.
The Chipping Barnet branch of ‘foodbank’ will open at the Salvation Army headquarters on November 10 and is the result of a joint venture between nine churches in the High Barnet area.
Since the economic downturn, foodbanks across the country have been inundated with requests from people with short-term financial problems and branches are popping up all over the country.
Sheila Gallagher is the foodbank co-ordinator for the new branch in Albert Road, New Barnet.
She said: “It is for people who find themselves in crisis – sudden redundancy for example. This happens more and more these days.
“Benefits take about three weeks to come through and in that time people simply have nothing.
“People’s circumstances change, and were there to support them when they do.”
Clients who use the service, typically for between two and three weeks, may have unexpectedly been made redundant or lost their jobs suddenly.
They can request food vouchers from various organisations including social services and single parent charities, before collecting weekly parcels from foodbank.
Food is collected through donations made to the churches that set up the project.
The New Barnet Churches Justice and Peace group, comprising representatives from nine churches, decided to set up a Chipping Barnet branch after seeing the model, sponsored by the Trussell Trust, on television.
Ministers visited a branch in Enfield that has handed out more than 1,000 food parcels in its first six to eight months and organisers in Barnet are hoping for similar demand at the new branch.
Julia Adcock, Salvation Army captain and minister of the New Barnet headquarters since 2008, said: “It is not a hand-out - it is to cover a period of crisis. There has been a significant increase over the last few years in people being referred to us.
“A significant factor is the financial climate – food prices and gas prices are going up. People are finding it very hard to make ends meet.”
The branch will open every Saturday morning, with ministers from each church working on a rota basis to provide further support for those that need it.
Julia said: “There is a stigma around the need for the food parcels and admitting they need help but that is where the professionals from these other organisations help out.”
Sheila added: “We can listen to people’s troubles, if they want to tell us them, and try and make them feel secure as they’re probably feeling vulnerable.
“We will be quite relieved once it is up and running. We’ve been inundated with food donations so we’re looking forward to getting started.”