It is not long ago that there was no foodbank in in Elmbridge and even more recently some questioned if there was any need for one. Those days are long gone, and this week’s half-yearly figures from the Walton & Hersham Foodbank make for grim reading.
One way of viewing life is as a series of transitions – the first day at Infants, moving to secondary school, starting work or (finally) moving into retirement. For some, these transitions are straightforward challenges to be met and successfully negotiated with the minimum of fuss.
Those amongst you who are not football fans may be feeling rather depressed at the thought that over the next month the media will be dominated by football with up to four live matches shown each day not to mention endless analysis and replays. Surely there are more important things going on in the world?
It was only when I was listening to an item on Radio 4 about loneliness that I started to appreciate that it can strike at any point in your life. Until then I had kicked the notion of loneliness into the long grass of being something to do with old age, safe in the knowledge that I apparently enjoy my own company (although that in itself is a point of internal debate).
I was delighted to spend one of the first spring-like lunchtimes of the year at Esher Civic Centre, talking about foodbanks. The event was an informal gathering run by the three Elmbridge foodbanks (Walton & Hersham Foodbank, East Elmbridge Foodbank and Cobham Area Foodbank) to update and inform foodbank voucher holders about guidelines for issuing foodbank vouchers and to answer any queries or concerns.
I sometimes wonder why it is that we can ignore something most of the time, then suddenly get very concerned for just a few days a year. I was thinking this last week, looking at the snow falling over the car park as the “beast from the east” brought snow and freezing conditions to our sheltered southern climes. Predictably, for the first time since Christmas, the news focused on the plight of people who were homeless. Equally predictably, as the weather warmed and the news moved its focus, the homeless again came invisible to most of us.