A NEW scheme designed to help tackle food poverty has proved so popular in one area it has become over-subscribed.
The Bread and Butter Thing opened its doors to its new hub in the Ridge Hill area of Stalybridge and immediately took off.
To the point where an average of 86 bags being made up and distributed among the community is not enough.
For just £7.50, members’ shopping bags are filled with a minimum of £35 worth of items made up of quality fresh food – including fruit and vegetables.And Margaret Doherty, project co-ordinator where the scheme operates from at the Big Local on Ambleside, has been amazed at how popular it has proved.
She said: “It’s going absolutely fantastically. We’re over-subscribed.
“Some people unfortunately don’t get their bags one week but they get priority the following week.
“On average, we’re doing 86 bags a week on average. So I’d guess there are more than 100 people signed up for it and word is spreading about how good it is.
“That shows it’s working, 100 per cent.”
National manufacture and distribution of food generates edible surpluses that are often wasted.
Just how much comes the Bread and Butter Thing’s way proved a real eye opener as Margaret added: “A lot of the items have been donated, otherwise they would have gone to landfill.
“And it’s really surprised me how much there is. I can’t believe it and it’s quality stuff as well.
“It was mooted about introducing the Bread and Butter things to Ridge Hill as it started around here in Hattersley and volunteers from here went there.“We tried to get it before but they needed more partners. When Tameside Council secured funding to open up more hubs, we expressed an interest and we were successful.
“We expressed it because there was a need in the community. People were coming in and I asked them if they would use it. They all said, ‘Yes.’”
After starting in the Trafford area, The Bread and Butter Thing now has almost 50 hubs operating across the North of England, including 31 in Greater Manchester – one opened in Ashton’s St Peter’s Church on July 14 and one started operating from the Haughton Green Centre on August 17.A total of five new hubs will be established in high-need areas after a grant from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
And Margaret believes food poverty is a problem that while seen is not talked about much.
She told The Correspondent: “It’s absolutely something you can see with your own eyes.
“We really want to be out there and helping support the community and it’s a way of recycling too.
“It’s not just means tested. People pay for the products and with any money they save, they can put it towards their electricity bill, Christmas is something they might need.”