A COMMUNITY group set up to help Carlisle residents as the Covid-19 pandemic approached has recently marked its first anniversary.

The team behind Carlisle Community Help first started a food bank collection in the city centre on March 13 2020 – just before the first national lockdown.

Since then, it has grown into a large organisation with six affordable food hubs, with thousands of people helped across the city.

Founding member Lisa Brown spoke about her feelings on the group’s first anniversary.

She said: “We didn’t expect to still be in lockdown a year later! We just thought it was going to be a summer thing, the Government said we would be back to normal before Christmas.

“At first it wasn’t such a surprise, there were lots of people needing help – but what is surprising is the fallout is still happening.

“A mum came in this week who had to choose between buying some food and getting Calpol for her child. We also get a lot of the self-employed.

“The support was a one-size-fits-all approach, but everyone is different. Eventually everyone runs out of money. There’s hundreds if not thousands of people who have slipped through the net.”

While the group was set up to help people during the coronavirus pandemic, Lisa expects their work to continue despite the roadmap out of lockdown.

She continued: “Because the vaccine rollout by the NHS has been such a success, people think that’s it but it’s not.

“There’s people who have been stuck at home for a year, and it’s when those people can get proper support and feel they can go out safely.

“There’s not a vaccine against food poverty.”