A helping hand at Northfield food drive


At the Labour Party Conference this week Ed Miliband talked about how the economy is not working for ordinary people, about increasing costs and the squeeze on people’s living standards. About how we need to build a One Nation economy that works for all of us, not divide the country between the richest and the rest.

The reality of parents unable to feed their children is one of the starkest examples of this squeeze on living standards faced by many British families.

A recent survey of shoppers found that one in four mums put something back at the supermarket checkout as they try to balance higher food prices and falling wages. Last year, 60,000 people relied on food handouts from the foodbank charity the Trussell Trust, including 20,000 children. This year, they predict they will feed 130,000 people.

The Trussell Trust food bank in Birmingham does an excellent job but the situation is getting worse and demand is going up. Foodbank users are no longer the homeless, or people with drug and alcohol problems. The biggest demand is now coming from families facing benefits delays, struggling with debt and unemployment.

This is why I will be supporting the Million Meal Appeal this weekend. The appeal is organised by the leading food charity FareShare and will be the largest food drive undertaken in Britain with volunteers collecting food donations at Sainsbury’s branches across the country.

I will be helping out at the Sainsbury’s in Northfield on Saturday. You can help too by visiting www.fareshare.org.uk to see how you can get involved.

People in Birmingham and Worcestershire have a proud tradition of reaching out to help our neighbours in times of need. The Million Meal Appeal is a good example of that community tradition in action.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.