A community group which set up a “sharehouse” where people can drop off or collect food and other essential items says it has been helping around 50 families a week.
Volunteers opened The Collective Sharehouse in December 2020 in response to footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign against food poverty and the effects of the pandemic.
The volunteers, linked to Scarcroft Primary School, accept donations and distribute food and items such as toiletries and nappies. People do not need to be referred to the site and no questions are asked – volunteers only record how many households visit during each session.
Last week the group recorded the 1,000th package given out and they calculate that around 50 families a week have visited the hub since it opened.
“It’s been an eye-opening few months,” says volunteer Diane Rowsell.
“When we started, our primary focus was on supporting Scarcroft School families through a difficult end of term and the Christmas holidays, but as we’ve gone on we’ve seen there is a wider need which is not always immediately visible.
“We have welcomed all sorts of people from right across the local area.”
Micklegate councillor Jonny Crawshaw highlighted inequality across the area, saying: “Many people think of Micklegate – and Bishy Road in particular – as being very affluent.
“But the reality is that we have both extremes in the ward, with some of the richest households in York only metres away from some of the poorest.”
He said the number of people claiming Universal Credit has almost tripled in recent months.
Volunteers say food banks need continuing support due to demand.
Diane added: “This pandemic has really shown us that the need to ask for help could happen to anyone.
“But it’s also shown us that when communities come together – giving as you can, taking as you need – you can really support each other in all manner of ways.”
The Collective Sharehouse has moved to a long term home in Clements Hall in Nunthorpe Road and opens on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9am to 11am and on Wednesdays from 5pm to 7pm. Access the site by the entrance at the corner of Cygnet Street and Swann Street.