This was a visit of contrasts.
We started off with an enormous breakfast at the Market House Café with Griff Holliday, the organiser, Nina Shields, Chair of Ledbury Town Council and Fran Robinson, a founder of the Food Group. The whole of Ledbury was geared up to provide similar hospitality. One wonders what the total calorific intake was. We then toured the High Street and Homend to see what others were doing, buying breakfast ingredients along the way. Ledbury was abuzz.
We then visited the Foodbank at St. Katherine’s Hall. The irony did not escape us. There we find generously hearted people, with supplies given by other helpful people, helping those who find themselves and their families, well, broke – without any money to pay for the necessities of life. There are many reasons why this might be and it is very complex. However, a theme that has emerged from this year in office is that the “powers that be” assume that we are a homogeneous species all capable of running our lives in the same way. Thus the rules are rigid and inflexible. In reality, circumstances are highly varied and, where there are choices to be made, may well lead to bad ones. All too often, people have little choice, good or bad. The foodbanks are a reflexion of the instinct to help one another. That is good. The need for them in the first place is a more nuanced matter.