“JUST ask for help” is a key message to families and individuals struggling with food poverty in Salisbury.

Last month, Salisbury Foodbank fed 523 people, which included 329 adults and 194 children.

Charities and community organisations in the city have banded together to establish a new local food network, The Foodie Network, to offer additional provision to residents in need.

It has been created by Salisbury Foodbank, The Pantry Partnership CIC, Harnham Harvest Table, Salisbury City Council’s The Pantry and Wiltshire Council.

Salisbury Foodbank manger Maria Stevenson says a key message from the charity is “we don’t want anyone to go hungry is a big message”.

She said: “Just ask for help. It’s a real hard barrier for people to overcome to admit to themselves that they are struggling. Once you can admit it to yourself that by having no food in your fridge or cupboards you’re not a failure. You’ll be failing if you don’t do anything about it.

“Speak to a friend, a friend might be able to help, or might say go speak to the foodbank. We want to be a nice, welcome, open environment which will allow you to sit down, have a meal, talk to people about some of the problems that have got you there.”

Of those the charity supported last month, 15 per cent were classed as family while 13 per cent were classed as single parents. The charity is also still seeing a high proportion of single people accessing support.

The Foodie Network is committed to supporting residents in Salisbury and the surrounding areas who need help to put a meal on their table, including low-income families, those living in isolation, older people and carers.

Cllr Sven Hocking, the chair of the Salisbury Area Board, said: “The new Foodie Network was created this year as a local priority through to support under-represented groups, as it has been particularly difficult a number of residents in Salisbury.

“With our food charities and community groups working more closely together, any individual or family in our city can find the advice and support they require by contacting the local food groups.

“Thank you to our incredible charities, community groups and volunteers in our city, for the thousands of tonnes of food which have been donated, collected, distributed and shared to residents across the city so far this year.

“This project is a shining example of the type of support and change that area boards can drive forward.”

Safer and Supportive Salisbury has produced a leaflet giving information about the support available.

Electronic copies of the leaflet can be found online at safersalibury.org.uk or printed versions are available in the library, information centre or by calling 01722 326261.

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