A MANAGER at Worcester Foodbank has said it was a shame it came to a vote in parliament on holiday lunch funding, but he understands why these decisions are "not taken lightly".

Martin Boniface, duty and warehouse manager at Worcester Foodbank, gave his personal opinion on the debate that has continued nationally since a motion to extend free school meals until Easter next year was defeated in the Houses of Commons.

Mr Boniface said: "It is a shame we are in a position where it has to come to a vote in a parliament that has clearly split opinion, on whether free school meals should be extended during the pandemic.

"But clearly there will always be a cost to these decisions, and there will be a cost this county and its citizens will be paying for many years to come - so I do understand these decisions are never taken lightly.

"There has been an issue with food poverty, and in particular children. Last year we were getting singles and couples.

"What we have seen this year compared to last is we are now feeding more families with children. Clearly they don't have enough to eat."

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The manager added that while the principle of Universal Credit was a great idea, how it has been implemented and the way it works for people to claim hadn't helped the situation.

Meanwhile Mr Boniface said ahead of what is expected to be a tough period, they were in a good place and well stocked with many items, and particularly were boosted by donations from organisations like Tescos who donated several tonnes early on in lockdown.

"We are in a position our stocks are looking good at the moment," the manager said.

"But if people really want to help us we would ask them to look at our web or Facebook page, and focus on the items we have said we really need. We also welcome supermarket gift cards, so we can buy the things we are missing."

For more on the foodbank visit worcester.foodbank.org.uk, or Worcester Foodbank on Facebook.