What are you going to do about the scandal of food banks and how do we tackle the issue of poverty which is forcing people in Cornwall to require food banks?

On December 23rd I spent the day distributing Foodbank Christmas Hampers to families that had recently faced hardship.

This followed a visit to Foodbank in Helston. I met with co-ordinator Ruth McGurk and a few people who needed help. They explained the circumstances that led to their crisis. Many years ago I was the Manager at Mustard Seed, which runs Helston Foodbank, and we supported people with hot meals, help, advice and food parcels then. This is not a new phenomenon.

Foodbanks are predominantly run by Christian organisations such as Mustard Seed and Churches Together in Penzance and St Ives. A core value of Christian faith is to help people in need - it always has been and always will be.

A contributing factor to poverty is West Cornwall's low wage economy. Living hand to mouth leaves little room for manoeuvre when people's circumstances change.

We tackle poverty by increasing the number of skilled and better paid jobs for our workforce. This is not straightforward but it is possible. New jobs can be created in IT, creative technology, engineering and the renewable energy sector as well as shoring up our core industries such as tourism, fishing and farming.

Photo: A visit to Helston Foodbank