THE idyllic setting of Naunton Chapel nestling in the heart of the Cotswolds could have easily been a classic British scene from Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony.
But scratch the surface and you will find pockets of poverty in the most picturesque, chocolate box villages.
Since the North Cotswold Food Bank opened its doors in December last year, more than 500 people have made use of its services.
The food bank, which has outlets in Stow, Moreton, Winchcombe and Chipping Campden has seen a steady increase in numbers.
People who are experiencing a crisis can receive three days’ emergency non-perishable food after being issued with a food voucher from care professionals such as doctors and social workers.
Kevin Fellows, of Primrose Court, Moreton, was relying on friends’ handouts when he came across the food bank. The 47-year-old gave up work and moved to Moreton from Oxford to be closer to a family member suffering a terminal illness.
He used the food bank for two weeks while he was waiting for his benefits to come through and luckily found a part-time job at Tesco soon after.
“It was an absolute lifesaver,”
he said. “It just saved me going to friends’ houses begging.
“The Cotswolds would seem from the outside a very affluent area, but within that there are always people from all walks of life who, through no fault of their own, can find themselves in that situation.”
Now Mr Fellows helps out at the headquarters in Naunton. Meanwhile, 49- year-old Elaine, who lives near Bourton, has been using the food bank since February.
The mother-of-three said: “I didn’t think it was for me.
I always thought there were other people worse off.”
Food bank manager James Milton said they have provided 4,500 meals since opening.
He said: “About 40 per cent of people who use the food bank are from in and around Winchcombe and Moreton.
“The other 60 per cent are scattered. They are in the little villages which you drive through and you think are just delightful.”
For more information, call 01451 850608.