New twist in row over second Mexborough food bank plans

Former Mexborough councillor David Holland.
Former Mexborough councillor David Holland.
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A war of words has erupted between community leaders over plans to open a second food bank in Mexborough.

Former councillor David Holland unveiled plans for the facility - just two weeks after Food Aware boss Sean Gibbons opened his own food bank in the town.

Sean Gibbons, Food Aware CIC Managing Director pictured with Factory Foods manageress Carol Mullins at the launch of the partnership between the store and Mexborough Food Bank. Picture: Marie Caley NSYT 04-11-14 Factory Foods MC 1

Sean Gibbons, Food Aware CIC Managing Director pictured with Factory Foods manageress Carol Mullins at the launch of the partnership between the store and Mexborough Food Bank. Picture: Marie Caley NSYT 04-11-14 Factory Foods MC 1

Mr Holland claimed he had the support of the Trussell Trust - a Christian charity which has opened more than 400 other outlets across the country.

However a boss at the trust hit out and said the organisation had never backed the scheme.

Mr Gibbons also chipped in to the row and said there is no need for a second food bank in the town.

Mark Snelson, project manager at Doncaster’s Trussell Trust food bank, said: “Can I categorically state that Doncaster food bank (Trussell Trust) has no plans to open a food bank centre in Mexborough. He (Mr Holland) contacted me several weeks ago expressing his desire to open a food bank.

“I explained to him that Sean Gibbons of Food Aware had just opened a food bank in Mexborough and in the light of this I did not see that there was a need.

“Mr Holland was under the mistaken impression that it was relatively straight forward to open a new food bank centre.

“ I made it clear that it was anything but straightforward. I was negative about his proposal and expressed many concerns.”

But Mr Holland stood by his original claims that the trust had backed his plan.

He said: “Let me first of all say how distasteful and disheartening all this is. I try to do something good for the people of Mexborough and those with a vested interest try to stop it.

“I’d like to be able to say their must have been a misunderstanding between Mark Snelson and myself but there was no misunderstanding. I stand by everything I said previously. There is something very mysterious here. I’m furious. What Mr Snelson has said is simply not true.”

Mr Holland said he is still determined to push ahead with his food bank plans, which would offer parcels of tinned and non-perishable goods to people in need for free.

He added: “I have already had an offer from a church and several volunteers so I’ll try to get a proper food bank started – one run by volunteers that doesn’t charge for donated food but gives the food free of charge.

Volunteers can contact Mr Holland on 07871 166356.

Food Aware boss Sean Gibbons said there was no need to set up a second food bank in Mexborough as his own recently-launched scheme already provides that service.

He said: “It is very sad and disappointing that Mr Holland has categorically stated that the Trussell Trust was in support of his plans to set up a duplicated grass-roots community service.”

Mr Gibbons’s food bank asks people, where possible, to make a £2.50 donation for food parcels, which is put back into the project. Community organisations refer people who they deem to need support. Parcels can be picked up from the Food Factory, Pastures Road, Mexborough, on Fridays from 11am to 1pm.