24th Nov, 2020

Plea for Solihull Council to provide meals to those going hungry in the borough

Sarah Mason 5th Nov, 2020

SOLIHULL Council is being called on provide meals to those going hungry in the north of the borough.

Kingshurst Parish Council (KPC) has written an open letter in ‘desperation’ to the borough council voicing concerns over the amount of support that is currently being offered to families and individuals.

The letter from chairman of the parish council Alvin Follows and the parish council’s clerk David Hinsley calls for Solihull Council to provide local support from those who need free school meals and work with the parish council to help stamp out hunger.

It says: “[We] sadly feel compelled to have to write to Solihull Council out of desperation to try and seek a resolution to hunger and food poverty, of which we feel Solihull Council has been severely lacking.

“Our community seems at breaking point and we are currently seeing an astonishingly large number of people literally crying out for assistance.

“We do appreciate that Solihull Council is not the cause or even sole responsibility for finding a solution, but we do believe Solihull Council is in a great position to deliver a real, positive solution; working with Kingshurst Parish Council, voluntary agencies and our wonderful community volunteers to greatly ease, or even eradicate this totally avoidable social tragedy.”

The letter continues to say before the pandemic there was a need in Kingshurst to provide free food in the form of hot food vans, food boxes, lunch clubs and over 100 food parcel deliveries per week to the most desperate.

And the situation has got worse this year with families being on furlough, needing to shield or being made redundant.

The Parish Council say since the forced closure of The Space it has had to reduce what it can do and is down to sending out food parcels in a van fuelled by volunteers.

In response to the letter Coun Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council has written a letter explaining all the support available to families and children across the borough and in Kingshurst including help to access foodbanks, benefits and help with financial worries.

He said: “One of this council’s priorities is ‘to improve life chances in our most disadvantaged communities’ and as the Parish Council will see from my letter we have a number of existing programmes and schemes to help any families that need it, not just those eligible for free school meals.

“The pandemic has meant our money advice, the help we offer accessing the full range of benefits and the support to those in severe financial hardship has been even more important than usual.

“This is alongside all the specific measures in place to help those affected directly by the Covid-19 such as the self-isolating Payment Scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“We will continue to work closely with the Kingshurst community to ensure we can offer support to all families who need it. We will also keep engaging with local people on our ambitious plans for a new Village Centre.”

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