A COUNCIL has pledged to do more to tackle poverty and added its backing to the Gazette's Support The Food Banks campaign.

South Lakeland District Council is working on a new approach called Tackling Poverty Together, supporting key partners to help ease the burden of hardship across the district.

The strategy will focus on a better understanding of the nature and extent of poverty, helping those in immediate need and focussing on work to address the root causes.


SLDCs leader, Cllr Giles Archibald, said: “Although many people enjoy comfortable and prosperous lives here in South Lakeland there are others who do not. We must do all we can to ease the considerable pressure on those who are suffering significant hardship.

“First we need a better understanding of the scale of the problem and then we must take a fresh look at how we can reduce the impact of poverty. It is one of the biggest challenges facing us and, working closely with our key partners, we are determined to ease the suffering.”

In South Lakeland, more than 1,200 children under the age of 16 are living in poverty, homelessness applications are on the increase and around 4,810 households are classed as ‘fuel poor’ or unable to keep warm on their income.

Three weeks ago The Westmorland Gazette launched its Support The Food Banks campaign as figures revealed that The King's Food Bank, based at the Shakespeare Centre in Kendal, had provided 6,909 meals so far this year and received 387 referrals - an increase of 40 per cent on last year.

SLDC hosted a Tackling Poverty Together workshop, a brainstorming session which produced some interesting ideas.

Suggestions included ensuring resources are targeted at harder to reach people, exploring better access to free skills and training courses and more publicity to raise awareness of what is being done to help alleviate poverty.

“Charities and voluntary organisations are already doing some excellent work. We need to know what is working, what isn’t working, where are the gaps, where are the obstacles and what more can be done to help identify poverty and reduce its impact,” said Cllr Archibald.

SLDC’s new approach will build on Cumbria County Council’s Anti-Poverty Strategy, giving it a more local focus.

The council will now liaise with Cumbria County Council, the health, education and voluntary sectors, the business community, the police, probation, courts and other agencies to focus on the problem of poverty.

Collection points for the Kendal food bank are located at The Westmorland Gazette offices, Asda and Booths in Kendal; Wilf's cafe in Staveley; The Wheatsheaf Inn, Brigsteer; County Offices in Kendal, South Lakeland House, Kendal; NatWest, Kendal.

Most churches will also accept donations. Cheques can also be posted to King's Food Bank at its Shakespeare Centre base in Kendal or money can be donated by standing order. For more, visit www.kingsfoodbank.org.uk