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MP presents work of Foodbank in House of Commons

Midlothian MP Danielle Rowley presented the work of Food Facts Friends as part of her maiden speech in the house of commons on Thursday 6 July. She told members of the house of her visit to the celebration anniversary on 9 June, only one day after she was elected, her visit to the foodbank in St. Mungo's church hall, and the work they do in Penicuik,
helping those with little or nothing.

Here is her speech:

On 9 June, the day after I was elected to serve here, I spoke at a local food bank, the Food Facts Friends Project in Penicuik. I talked to Mark, who told me his personal story. He told me that when he found himself having to rely on a food bank, it did not just give him the food he needed, but gave him friendship and support and helped him to develop a network. He then helped set up and run the Penicuik food bank himself.

Mark’s story reminded me of an ethos that is central to charity and to the idea behind food banks, and that should be central to the work we carry out here when we talk about helping people in need: a hand up, not a handout. It is essential that we give people the tools that they need to live their lives to the full. When I have worked with people in various jobs who are receiving benefits or support from charity, that is what they want. They want support to do things for themselves, not a handout, as some Members of this House and the media might have us believe.

I am sad to say that Mark had to report last week that demand for the food bank had gone up again, with more than 20 families a week using the service. He said that people who come to the foodbank because they cannot afford to feed their families may have been sanctioned or suffered from the benefit cap and welfare reform. Others simply cannot feed their family on the income of low wages and inadequate help from the Government.

That is an absolute disgrace and something I will spend my time here fighting. I will fight for good jobs, for good wages, for support for our young, our elderly and people with disabilities, and for a hand up for those who fall on hard times, because it can happen to any of us.
Published - 7 July 2017
Penicuik: St. Mungo's Parish Church (Church of Scotland). Scottish Charity No SC005838