Food banks in Leicester offer relief as harsh winter bites

By Zarina Ahmed

With temperatures continuing to drop, homeless shelters have experienced a rise in visitors to the point of almost being overwhelmed with not enough resources in Leicester.

Volunteers providing hot drinks and food to those who need it

The Centre Project, located in the city centre, offers free refreshments and food to those who need it, its food bank opening for three hours every Monday.

Danielle, an organiser of the food bank and other programmes it runs, said: “Yeah, so the weather has been getting colder and more people have visited, so we’ve definitely seen a rise of people coming.

“It can feel colder and lonelier, so even if we can offer a warm drink or somewhere to stay, then that’s something.”

Since the cost-of-living crisis started to hit, made worse by the arrival of colder weather, there has been a 30 per cent rise in people visiting the food bank, creating a higher demand for food packages to be given to everyone.

“I’ve come here for a while now, hang out when I can and stuff,” said Holly, one of the many people who attend the food bank service. “It’s there when I needed it, and can be good fun when I get talking to the volunteers.”

As well as offering food bank services, the Central Project also caters to the social needs of people in Leicester – such as a social room and a café.

The spaces provide warmth and safety whilst many homes in Leicester are struggling with fuel poverty and social isolation, both of which affect more people during the winter.

Isolation and poverty impact the homeless during colder weather (Photo: by pxhere)

Danielle said: “So many different people come to visit and it’s just an environment for them to come to.”

The food bank runs in the morning from 10.30 until 1pm, with various other events offering similar services throughout the week.

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