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POLL: Food charity hurt by Liskeard Morrisons 'snub'

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: April 11, 2013

  • DESPERATE TIMES: Foodbank volunteer Andy Queen packs a box of groceries for a person in need.

  • CHOW TIME: Collecting bins for dogs in Morrisons at Liskeard, which has refused space for a foodbank for humans.

Comments (14)

LISKEARD'S Morrisons store has come under fire after refusing to house a permanent foodbank for families in need – despite allowing an animal charity to collect for dogs in the supermarket.

The news comes a week after the Cornish Guardian reported that Liskeard and Looe Foodbank is preparing to feed up to twice as many people as it did last year due to changes in the benefits system but despite the growing need, Morrisons has refused to allow a permanent collection box to be sited in the Liskeard store, claiming there is not enough space.

However, shoppers can donate dog food to the Pedigree Foundation, which has been granted permission to keep a collection box and two cages behind the tills.

"Much as I love animals, my personal view is that it's much more important that human beings don't go without food," said David Berry, project manager of the Liskeard and Looe Foodbank, adding that this week had been particularly busy after changes to benefits rules took effect: "The phone's been ringing non-stop and there are more and more people being referred to us."

Volunteers from the foodbank carry out regular collections at the store but say a permanent donation point would enable them to collect substantially more.

"You just have to look at the footfall," Mr Berry said. "We have a permanent foodbank in the Co-op in Liskeard and have to empty it at least twice a week. At Morrisons there are well over 1,000 people a day walking through."

He said that during the collections at Morrisons volunteers collected food worth around £1,200.

"Morrisons would benefit from having a permanent collection there because people would be buying items to donate," he said.

"Other supermarkets are leading the way. The Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose are champing at the bit to have foodbanks in their stores."

He said he first approached the supermarket three years ago. "The issues they've raised are all things that we can overcome.

"We've offered to make something designed specifically to fit in the store.

"They told me they were worried about people putting fresh food in the bank. We've said that we would make it clear on the box which items can be donated, and we have volunteers who would check and empty it every day."

He said the foodbank expected to feed up to 2,000 people this year and was having to move to larger premises to cope with demand.

A Morrisons spokesman said: "Our Liskeard store is one of the smaller ones in our estate and we simply don't have the room to accommodate a foodbank.

"However, we have had numerous collections in store over the past year or two for the foodbank and have more scheduled for this year."

Permanent food collection bins are in place at the Co-op in Liskeard, Torpoint library and the Rusty Bucket Coffee Shop in East Looe, as well as in churches across Cornwall.

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14 comments

  • jimjams2011  |  April 12 2013, 10:39PM

    Dear Truronion, I think you'll find I am certainly not a 'torie', as if you read through the rest of these comments StAustellAdam is a torie and he agrees with this idea. Only a torie would agree with the type of idea that puts a plaster over societies problems.

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  • StAustellAdam  |  April 12 2013, 9:31AM

    I'd be reluctant to have a serious dig at Morrisons, in the main they are one of the few big supermarkets to have a genuine corporate social responsibility policy ... I just think that in this instance they are making a mistake in not allowing the collection boxes in store. Each and every single one of their customers will be related to, or know someone, who is affected by the changes to the welfare system, or who is having to tighten their belts in these tough times. Whilst this branch of Morrisons may not quite get that message you can be sure that their customers do. For the record I am a Conservative myself, a candidate in the upcoming elections for Town and County council, and I recognise that there is a lot to do in building better communities. I am also chairman of a charity in St Austell working with vulnerable and socially excluded people, the very people who use and need services like Foodbank. Foodbank does an excellent job, I know Dave Berry well, and whilst these services are genuinely needed then they should be supported by the whole community, including businesses that operate within that community. I feel that Morrisons will have a change of heart soon, and when that happens they should be applauded for listening to the voices of their customers and taking appropriate action.

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  • lurchersrock  |  April 12 2013, 9:26AM

    Oh, and thanks for the link willtythefish, I have just contacted them to say well done :-)

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  • lurchersrock  |  April 12 2013, 9:21AM

    Surely it is up to Morrisons which charities they allow onto their premises? The Pedigree Foundation collection has been there for a while now. First come, first served. As for it being more important to feed humans than dogs, it is humans that cause ALL the problems on this planet, not dogs! Well done Morrisons.

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  • willythefish  |  April 11 2013, 9:03PM

    @jimjams2011 I think you will find that some of the food banks offer as a secondary service occasional courses for people to learn basic cooking etc. in just the way that you advocate. Perhaps you would like to volunteer to help out... put your ideas into practice. For anyone else who wants to tell Morrisons (politely) what they think there's a contact page here: http://tinyurl.com/bnctx9r

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  • TheTruronian  |  April 11 2013, 5:24PM

    jimjams2011 is in all likelihood an out of touch Tory. He/She/It has made disparaging remarks about the food banks before. Only two weeks ago we saw a series of articles in the West Briton regarding the Camborne and Redruth food bank which is working flat out to keep up with demand. Demand made by those who have had benefits stopped pending appeal, the elderly who cannot afford food and heating bills and so on. Come on Morrisons - a square basket in your entrance way doesn't take up much room and this would show that you are community minded more so than a few posters on your shelves. This is the true face of the Tories. It has to change!

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  • StAustellAdam  |  April 11 2013, 6:27AM

    @ jimjams2011 It is sad that you think this way, especially as that is not entirely true. And even if it were true, with the ever increasing cost of living, reduction in Housing Benefit for many, Council Tax liabilities for many more, and in honesty, the absence of sustainable employment, more and more people turn to charities for help every day. People who work hard, do their very best to be socially responsible, often find that they are unable to feed either themselves or their children. Yes, there are people who abuse the system, yes, there are people who don't need food parcels but see them as yet another "easy" option, but Foodbank is monitored and policed as well as it can be, considering everyone is a volunteer. You may be surprised to learn that the single biggest distributor of Foodbank vouchers, which is the only way people can access food parcels, is the DWP, the very agency that is providing the benefits of which you speak. Work that one out ... I only hope that you don't one day find yourself in the situation where you yourself need to turn to charitable organisations such as Foodbank.

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  • jimjams2011  |  April 10 2013, 11:12PM

    I support Morrisons on this. Give a man a value ready meal and he will feed himself for just a day. Give a man the means to make his money go further by cooking from scratch with the benefits of extra nutrition then he will do much better! The fact is EVERYONE Gets benefits if they are poor. The fact is EVERYONE gets more money if on benefits if they have kids or a disability. There is no excuse for people using this 'charity'.

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  • StAustellAdam  |  April 10 2013, 10:31PM

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dave Berry from the Foodbank - the purpose of the collection box, other than providing food for vulnerable and hungry people, is to allow kind hearted souls to buy a little bit extra on their [weekly] shop, if they so choose, and to place it somewhere it will be collected and put to good use. For supermarkets it is a no-brainer - that customer who usually spends £20, with a gentle reminder will now spend anything from £22-£30 in store ... what is there not to like from the supermarket's perspective. As someone else has said, kind hearted shoppers will take their business elsewhere, allowing them to do their [weekly] shop and buying a little extra for good causes at the same time ... not only are Morisons going to lose the customer, they are also going to lose the extra 10-50% that the customer may have spent. Commercial suicide.

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  • Narries  |  April 10 2013, 1:34PM

    Well, I shop regularly at Morrisons Liskeard, and for what it is worth, I think they are right. They dont have the space. Good to see a supermarket take a stand for once instead of making its customers "charitied out". I am not and never have been convinced about this foodbank even though I have contributed to it in Morrisionswhen they have canvassed there. After all, as others have said, there are other supermarkets where you can give to the foodbank if you want.

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