A PROPOSAL has been tabled for local councils to fund rent costs for Malvern Hills Food Bank for the next three years.
The move was approved at the district council’s annual meeting and now needs to be endorsed by Malvern Town Council after a vote passed for the authority to foot half of the bill.
It comes after figures revealed more than 1,400 people including 600 children had been issued with emergency food relief by the service in its first year of operation.
Coun Julian Roskams put forward the motion on the night for the council to cover the rent costs at Spring Court, Spring Lane of £13,125 for the next three years or provide rent-free premises for the period.
He said: “As with all such services, food banks rely on a very dedicated and hardworking team of volunteers. But they are working at the absolute limits of their capacity.
“I spoke at length to the Malvern Food Bank and asked them what was the one thing this council could do that would make a difference and they identified this support for the payment of their rent for the next three years.
“I hope a time comes when the need for food banks has disappeared, but until that happy day comes I would urge all councillors to support this.”
Councillors debated whether the costs should be split with Malvern Town Council with many arguing the service predominantly benefited residents living in central areas.
Coun Roskams agreed to approach the town council, where he is Mayor, but said it was an opportunity for the district council to ‘show real community leadership’ further arguing the move should not be dependent on funding from elsewhere.
Chris Bray, chairman of Malvern Hills Food Bank, welcomed the decision and said: “We are most grateful to the councillors who put this motion forward and to the council members for making this positive decision.
“I know the trustees and volunteers will be immensely thankful for relieving us of this large outgoing over the next three years, so enabling us to direct our funds to other areas that will benefit our clients.”
MALVERN Hills Food Bank has been upgraded thanks to a £2,000 donation.
Members of the area’s Round Table collected the money through a molls and gangsters event to fund alternations to the unit where the food bank is based.
A spokeswoman said: “The cheque for £2,000 was presented to Chris Bray, chair of the food bank, when Nigel Harte, Rhys Humm and representatives of the Round Table visited recently.
“They were able to see the interior alterations that they had funded, which now benefit food bank volunteers, allowing them to work more efficiently whilst respecting the privacy of visiting clients.
“Nigel, Rhys and the other members of the Round Table present explained how they aim to raise money for charities whilst having fun at the same time. Even this meeting of members from both groups brought its own fun with some music and fancy camera work. They also very kindly offered their help at some of the supermarket collections which are planned for the food bank.”