Mum launches food bank and community hub in Ribbleton

Tracie Kavanagh pictured with daughter Charlotte, 14, who has volunteered her time over the school holidays.
Tracie Kavanagh pictured with daughter Charlotte, 14, who has volunteered her time over the school holidays.
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Knowing only too well the financial pressures families face, Tracie Kavanagh is taking the bull by the horns.

The 31-year-old, of Ribbleton, is inviting people to grab some food and have a chat at Sion Park Community Hub, in Longridge Road.

Tracie Kavanagh has set up a food bank and breakfast club to help with school holiday hunger, at Sion Park Community Centre, Ribbleton

Tracie Kavanagh has set up a food bank and breakfast club to help with school holiday hunger, at Sion Park Community Centre, Ribbleton

The food bank, supported by FareShare and Community Gateway Association (CGA), is open during the holidays on Mondays and Thursdays, 10am until noon and during term time, from 7.30am until 10.30am.

It is open to anyone as referrals are not needed.

Tracie is a full time carer to her 11-year-old daughter who has attention deficit disorder and dyspraxia and after hearing reports of people still struggling to afford to feed their children, she decided to launch her own project.

Read more: Fourfold spike in free meals for children over school holidays and Preston Council's campaign to end 'holiday hunger' through the city this summer

She said: “I have gone through holiday hunger in the past. My brother and I would stay with my dad for three weeks in the summer holidays and he struggled to feed us.

“My mum helped out a bit, but I know he did find it hard. So it is close to my heart, especially as I am a stay-at-home mum.

“I have connections, as my partner used to work at FareShare and I had spoken with Community Gateway Association to use Sion Park.

“The hub is the perfect location, as it is in our target area and there are six primary schools in the proximity.

“I was seeing and hearing so much about holiday hunger and knowing I was in a position to help made me want to do something.”

But this is only the beginning for the mother-of-four, as she plans to expand the scheme to invite elderly residents to enjoy food and games, as well as provide regular groups and activities.

Tracie added: “This is not just about feeding children. It is about building the community. People can come in and speak to people in similar circumstances.

“This is about building friendships. I have already been asked by some parents about holding drop in groups and I will look into this in the future.

“I plan to incorporate a minibus with CGA and bring elderly residents to the venue, so they can have a chat, with a coffee and cake. They can play games, watch old films and listen to music.

“I want to tackle the stigma between the older generation and youngsters, so I will bring in the Lancashire Police Cadets to mingle with the pensioners.

“We will also be giving away free baby items, so this is a place where people can donate things and they can be reused.”

People can donate food or baby clothes and accessories by dropping by Mondays and Thursdays, 10am until noon, (summer holidays) and during term time, from 7.30am until 10.30am.

Tracie’s food bank is independent to CGA’s own Community Food Hubs, which had been running on two separate dates over the summer holidays at the CGA’s former housing office in Langdale Road, Moor Nook.

Over the two dates, more than 300 people attended. CGA now plans to hold more Community Food Hubs with FareShare.