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A partnership between Cornwall’s Newquay Foodbank and Hope4U is expecting to help more local people access the support and advice they need during the cost of living crisis thanks to a £98,000 funding grant from Wales & West Utilities.

Newquay Foodbank is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of people accessing their hubs for support in receiving essential food, and whilst they expect to give out over 4,500 food parcels, operators of the foodbank understand that the underlying issues of people’s individual circumstances are not always able to be addressed at the time they are physically in the foodbanks.

The funding from Wales & West Utilities will now allow Newquay Foodbank to refer clients to Hope4U for help and advice with energy saving, access to schemes to reduce utility costs, budgeting, and carbon monoxide safety advice, amongst other areas. £10,000 will also be utilised directly by Newquay Foodbank to help with its increased running costs, including their own gas and electricity bills, food, storage, volunteer expenses and salaries.

Debbie Waller, Operations Manager for Newquay Foodbank, explains:

The primary reason for people accessing the foodbank over the last 12 months is due to low income and budgeting but with the increase in fuel and living costs, the numbers are expected to rise."

“Our foodbank hubs provide our volunteers with an ideal opportunity to speak to people about their individual circumstances, in a non-judgemental way, and to gather and give out information to help more and more people locally.

We are delighted that Wales & West Utilities has supported our partnership with Hope4U to ensure that our local people understand that help is out there.

Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities has provided the funding as part of its Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA).

Debbie Waller, Operations Manager for Newquay Foodbank, with Wales & West Utilities Tom Robinson at a foodbank session

Luke Arnold, Director from Hope4U, said:

From experience, we know more people are accessing foodbank services and struggling to afford the increasing fuel costs.  By working together, we are able to directly identify and support people with essential information.

There is a vast amount of advice and signposting available and our priority is to help as many people locally as possible.

Tom Robinson, Social Obligations Specialist at Wales & West Utilities, said:

We’re happy that this funding will help hundreds of families and individuals across the Newquay area to access further help and support.

We are committed to doing everything we can to support those most in need in our communities. Working with trusted partners like Hope4U and Newquay Foodbank means we can help more people stay safe in their own homes.

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £7m to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Funding is made from the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA), and 75% of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25% will be spent on collaborative projects with the other gas networks across the whole of the UK.

If you have a project that you think Wales & West Utilities could support, either individually or collaboratively with other gas networks, then contact Wales & West Utilities at VCMA@wwutilities.co.uk.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we'll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We'll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.