Blackpool Tower reopens food bank as need ‘triples’

The number of people using food banks in Blackpool has “tripled” since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a food bank has said.

Blackpool Food Bank founder Neil Reid said he was working with more than 70 community groups to distribute food to people in need across the town.

It comes as Blackpool Tower reopens as a hub for food donations during the UK’s second lockdown.

Mr Reid said he expected the coming months to be “challenging”.

“Nobody could have seen this coming,” he said.

“People who have been in a good job and a solid situation, suddenly their life has been hit with a bombshell.

“Our job is to be here to help.”

He said the need for the food bank, which was set up in 2012, had increased since the first lockdown in March and that the “brilliant community spirit” had seen local people come together to help.

Blackpool Tower had to shut for the first time in its 125-year history in March, but kept its doors open as a food donation hub.

Kate Shane, head of Blackpool Cluster Merlin Entertainments Group, said the attraction received an “amazing” five tonnes of food donations during the first lockdown and wanted to continue its support.

“It was beautiful the way the community came together and rewarding for the whole team who volunteered to help,” she said.

“More people in Blackpool are finding themselves out of work now and the need is greater than ever.”

The tower reopened as a tourist attraction in July but has been forced to shut again for the second lockdown. Ms Shane said it “made sense” to reopen again as a food collection point.

Staff who normally work at the attraction have volunteered to help out and donations will be passed to Blackpool Food Bank to distribute.

Donations can be dropped off at Blackpool Tower on Wednesdays and Fridays between 11:00 BST until 15:00.

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