Our foodbank in Whittlesey serves a genuinely useful purpose – and long may it do so

I refer to the remarks made by John Smithee to end all benefit sanctions now and make foodbanks history (January 16).

As someone who spent the last 10 years of his working life in the employment industry, I would make the following comments.

Jobcentre sanctions are in the main imposed on unemployed persons who do not comply with the terms of their agreement, for example failing to attend job training, work placements etc. They are ultimately designed to save a waste of public money.

The nationally enfranchised foodbanks such as The Trussel Trust then step in to provide food whilst the jobseeker is under sanction.

In Whittlesey we operate Whittlesey Emergency Food Aid, an independent scheme which is designed to assist citizens in genuine need of assistance, not necessarily unemployed persons but those who for whatever reason are struggling.

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The project incorporates help in home economics, allotment skills, basic cookery skills etc of which a foodbank sourced through Whittlesey Town Council, local churches and the general public is an integral part of helping people to regain their confidence and independence.

Our foodbank therefore serves a genuinely useful purpose and long may it do so, irrespective of what government party is in power.

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Mayor of Whittlesey

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