£10,000 to help feed hungry children in South Tyneside - but South Shields MP fears it won't be enough

An MP has praised donors who raced to raise thousands of pounds to beat child school holiday hunger in South Tyneside – but warned of an upsurge in demand for foodbank support.

Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 9:36 am
Emma Lewell-Buck MP

Emma Lewell-Buck, Labour MP for South Shields, said almost £45,000 had been raised nationally in only a few weeks by the Feeding Britain charity.

Of that, she pledged £10,000 will be spent in South Tyneside, one of five locations being supported across the country.

The money will be used to provide food, fun and friendship clubs for children during the upcoming summer holidays.

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But Mrs Lewell-Buck warned of an increased demand for foodstuff donations in the borough, highlighted by a recent emergency appeal by the South Shields-based Key 2 Life Foodbank.

The MP, a trustee and founder member of Feeding Britain, has now opened a drop off point in her office where donations for the foodbank can be made.

She said:“I would like to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to those who have so generously donated to this cause.

“It should be the absolute shame of this Government that an estimated three million children are at risk of hunger over the summer holidays.

“That the Govt have left faith groups, charities and the kindness of communities like ours to fill the gap left by the state is total dereliction of their duty.

“Last year I worked with local partners to obtain funding for our holiday clubs from the Department for Education but the DfE funding this year has gone to other areas.

“So whilst this money was welcome and needed, this sticking-plaster approach from the Government of piecemeal one off funding is not addressing the root causes of the high levels of UK hunger that their austerity measures and punitive welfare reform have caused.”

And she added: “I am fully aware that many of our local foodbanks are running extremely low on stocks and, as we head rapidly into school holidays, this will become an even bigger problem.

“I would encourage anyone who can help to donate directly to their nearest local foodbank or, if they are not sure where to find them, to please call my office for advice.

“My office also refers people in crisis to local foodbanks, so it’s important that we do as much as possible to support the amazing organisations and volunteers who are offering emergency assistance to residents every day.”