The Foodbank at Charing Cross continues to serve hundreds of families in Birkenhead. It is as busy as ever opening twice a week on Wednesday and Thursday and is staffed by a committed team of volunteers. Charing Cross Foodbank operates as a Foodbank Plus with health trainers, benefit advisers and the Citizens Advice Bureau attending the sessions. This concept was highlighted in the Feeding Britain, All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom report.
It was also the first centre to work in partnership with Npower who provide fuel vouchers for gas and electricity of varied monetary values depending on the season that equates to two weeks of free energy supply. Eligibility is via a Foodbank voucher to those who need the extra help as well as food.
In the first quarter of 2016, the Wirral Foodbank across its 14 distribution centre has seen a 23% increase in take up, reflecting the increased hardship people are facing with benefits changes like Universal Credit and Tax Credits. Much of this increase has been experienced at Charing Cross with some weeks the church helping up to 75 singles and families. Despite the added workload of the volunteers from the church and from other churches, they have persevered and continue to serve with a smile. – Rev Steve Carpenter