New Year Honours: Knottingley foodbank founder is awarded the BEM

A woman who established a foodbank in Knottingley to help those in need has been awarded a New Year’s honour.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 3:12 pm

Pauline Janet Burns, known as Janet, has been awarded the BEM for establishing and runs a food bank in Knottingley.

In 2013, Knottingley Churches Together, a Christian organisation made up of local churches of different denominations, agreed to start a food bank in Knottingley, the first in the area and she was appointed as project leader.

She raised the money required to bring the food bank into the Trussell Trust network of food banks, through weekly car boot sales and a market stall in nearby Pontefract.

BEM: Pauline Janet Burns.

Since 2013 the Knottingley food bank has been held twice weekly and she has attended almost every session.

Earlier this year, when there was a major increase in referrals, she said changes to benefits had a big impact.

She said: “We’ve been open six years and there’s been a steady increase, certainly since universal credit was rolled out in our area.”

“People don’t have the resources to fall back on when there’s a change. Unfortunately, it’s a sad state of affairs.”

Janet arranges deliveries to people who are unable to attend in person, and delivers the parcels to the Wakefield Probation Service personally.

She contacted local supermarkets, which now supply donations of leftover bread and bakery items to add to the parcels.

She arranged for the supply of various child and infant clothing items, which the bank now also supplies, as well as baby goods such as buggies, bedding and toys, and essential adult clothing items, all of which are freely available at the food bank.

She has extended the food bank’s service to providing packs for local homeless people, which consist of rucksacks with sleeping bags, blankets and warm clothing.