MPs heap praise on High Peak Foodbank
Tuesday 5th January 2016 13:46 News Posted by Becky Cahill
A local project which feeds people and helps put them into work has been given a glowing report by MPs.
An All Party Parliamentary Group has praised a scheme by High Peak Foodbank – describing it as unique.
The group has suggested the project could be rolled out by food banks all over the country.
Called ‘Zink,’ High Peak Foodbank’s work and skills programme offers work experience which is individually tailored with the help of a work coach.
Since its launch in March, the project has helped 45 per cent of its long term unemployed into work within eight weeks.
It’s statistics like this that led to co-ordinator Paul Bohan receiving an invitation to the launch of the parliamentary group report called ‘Feeding Britain’ in Westminster.
Zink got a special mention in the report, with its authors saying: “We wish to celebrate the unique Zink project.
“Other foodbanks might wish to incorporate similar support within their operations.”
The Chronicle first reported the ground breaking project last month.
“It’s great for High Peak Foodbank to get this recognition,” said Paul.
“We were also able to speak to  the Bishop of Truro about our future plans to address food poverty in our communities.”
Most people on the programme have been unemployed long term.
Some, especially those on part of the scheme called RISE, are in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.
“We have the opportunity to work closely with participants so that we can offer support that specifically meets their needs,” said work coach Jane Kirk-Bagshaw.
“This makes us more effective at dealing with challenges that get in the way of work and getting people into the job they want and can do.”
One problem Zink people face is that benefits stopping on the day they start work. Even though they probably won’t  be paid for four to five weeks.
After long term unemployment there are usually no savings to fall back on and it is something that has deterred people from accepting jobs.
But because Zink is run from a food bank it means people can be supported with food parcels for those crucial first weeks of work.
High Peak Foodbank receives a Big Lottery Award that helps towards running costs, as well as funding from Derbyshire County Council, the Equity Foundation, the Bingham Trust and Foundation Derbyshire to support unemployed people into work.
Many local businesses, churches, organisations and individuals have made generous donations of money as well as food.
Paul, from Glossop, said: “The Big Lottery grant we receive to run the foodbank is dependent on us raising additional funds to cover some running costs.
“Our supporters have helped enormously with this, but we still need to raise just over £6,000 this financial year.”
Donations to support the project can be made on-line via the website at www.highpeakfoodbank.co.uk or by post to High Peak Foodbank, C/O United Reformed Church, Hardwick Square East, Buxton SK17 6PT.
Supporters, foodbank referrers and other interested people can arrange an informative visit to the foodbank by telephoning 01298 214926.
By David Jones