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Huddersfield Examiner 26.6.2016

A massive rise in families needing help has forced a Huddersfield food charity to expand.

Soaring demand for food and household items has meant The Welcome Centre has rented a warehouse in Huddersfield to prepare more parcels.

The group has also taken on a new advice worker to offer more help to families.

Over the last five years the number of people needing help from the Welcome Centre has more than doubled, so much so that in 2015/16 nearly 9,000 packs were given to individuals and families.

The centre provides them with basic essentials such as food, toiletries, bedding and household items. They also offer a full weeks pack with fresh meat, milk, bread and fruit and vegetables as well as dried and tinned food so that the individuals and families who need their support have a balanced diet while they are dealing with their difficulties.

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Centre spokeswoman Emma Greenough said: “The support for service users has been improved. Following a successful bid to the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation we now employ a development, advice and support worker. The centre’s Cath Williams works closely with our most vulnerable service users offering advocacy and emotional support as well as sign-posting to specialist services.

“In her first four months she has already helped several service users to become more independent. She is also building links with partner organisations to give even better guidance.”Emma added: “The Welcome Centre has been highly successful in building more links with food retailers, wholesalers and growers. Over the last 12 months more local supermarkets have come on board due to their desire to support the local community and reduce waste.

“For example, Marks and Spencer now provide the Welcome Centre with fresh food five times week. And nothing gets wasted; the Real Junk Food Project in Dewsbury uses any out-of-date products.

“Our current premises at 15 Lord Street simply aren’t big enough on their own so an industrial unit has been leased to give extra storage space. Lord Street will become a dedicated service centre.”

People wanting to drop donations off should now take them to the centre’s new warehouse at 7 Queens Mill, Lockwood. The Lord Street offices will be the base for distributing parcels.

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Emma added: “The generosity of the people of Huddersfield keeps the Welcome Centre going. This generosity helps families who can’t feed their children, adults in crisis, and people who are desperate for some support.”