Food banks criticised over plans to shut during bank holiday for Queen's funeral

Food banks pointed out that they are staffed by volunteers, and would typically close on bank holidays. Credit: PA

Several food banks have been criticised after announcing they will be closing during the bank holiday announced to mark the Queen's funeral.

Food banks said they would close on Monday, 19 September, during the period of public mourning.

However at least one food bank has backtracked after volunteers offered to come in to ensure it could stay open to help people struggling with the cost of living crisis.

The food banks' plans sparked some backlash on social media - but the charities running them pointed out that they typically close on bank holidays, as the services are staffed by volunteers.

The Trussell Trust on Tuesday confirmed its Staffordshire sites at West End Methodist Church in Stoke, St John's Church in Knypersley, and Wesley Hall Methodist Church in Sneyd Green have made independent decisions to each shut on Monday, as the nation mourns.

Southwark food bank, Richmond Hill community food bank and South Sefton food bank in London and East Elmbridge food bank in Surrey, were among others to announce their decision to close on Monday.

"Our service will be closed on Monday 19 September to mark our respect on the day of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's funeral," Southwark food bank, in London, wrote in a statement on Twitter.

One Twitter user wrote: "If a foodbank is to be closed (out of respect for HM) then that is bonkers. HM didn’t ever go hungry or want for food but there are people who are."

Another tweeted: "A bank holiday = schools closed = people who work/volunteer being unable to leave their kids = reduced services, closed food banks, etc, etc, please don't blame individuals and charities."

Wimbledon food bank, in southwest London, reversed its decision to close after receiving both criticism over its decision and offers from volunteers willing to work at the food bank to keep it open.

"Update: Due to the overwhelming support we have received we now have volunteers to run our Monday session as usual," the food bank tweeted on Tuesday.

"As a reminder, we are not a government service and run solely on people's donations of time, money and food."

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Emma Revie, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust said in a statement: “Food banks in our network run sessions on different days and at different times."

"Food banks are best placed to make the right decision for their communities and will ensure everyone who needs support can access it as they do with every bank holiday," she added.

"As each food bank is an independent charity, we’d encourage people who need support to contact their local food bank to check their opening hours.”

It comes after a string of supermarkets and high street chains already confirmed closure plans for the day.

Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Lidl and Asda have become the latest retailers to confirm they will shut stores next Monday for the Queen’s funeral.

It comes a day after Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Aldi all confirmed they would shut their supermarket stores for the day of the funeral, with fashion retailers such as Primark also confirming closure plans.