AN MP visited a food bank to find out from the people on the ground just how they are helping those in need.
MP for Fareham Mark Hoban spent the afternoon at the Basics Bank, a charity that gives out food parcels, in Westbury Road, Fareham.
He spoke to volunteers about the problems they see day-to-day and they filled him in on the ever-growing need for food parcels.
Mr Hoban, the former Minister of State for Work & Pensions, said that while he recognised the hard work of the charity and the volunteers, he felt that something could be done to try to prevent people from getting to the point where they needed to use food banks.
He said: ‘One of the things that strikes home is that people’s needs are much greater than in the past – family breakdown and mental health issues – but I also think we have lost some of the glue that holds society together.’
Trustee and volunteer at the bank Steve Dent took Mr Hoban on a tour and challenged him on a number of issues, including whether politicians were aware of the need for food banks.
Mr Hoban said they were and that they were working on the source of the problem.
Basics Bank gives out food parcels to people who are referred to the centre and who are in times on crisis.
It relies on donations from the public and also the work of volunteers. Last year, it helped feed more than 4,000 people.
Volunteer Philip Rutt put to Mr Hoban that what was needed was a place where people could get advice in a friendly environment, which was not the Job Centre.
Marcus Chapman, from Two Saints, which runs homeless shelter 101 in Fareham, was at the bank. He told Mr Hoban about the problems homeless people are facing.
Mr Hoban said: ‘There are a lot of different things happening in society that have led to this at a time when there are more people out of work. .
‘For me the challenge is how do you tackle people’s needs so they do not need to come to a food bank, trying to do that preventative work rather than trying to deal with some of the issues that we see in society today.’
For more on the bank search Fareham and Gosport Basics Bank on Facebook.