Guest column: Food bank needs your help this Christmas

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

The rollout of Universal Credit begins next week in Bassetlaw.

I have kept on calling for the rollout to be halted as it will affect local families over the Christmas period.

No-one wants a child to wake up on Christmas Day to no presents.

I have asked the minister in Parliament to come to Bassetlaw to see the effects of Universal Credit and the real pressure it will place on families at Christmas.

Last week, the British Toy and Hobby Association ran an event in Parliament ande donated a box of toys to Bassetlaw Food Bank.

I am grateful for the generosity because it will make a real difference on Christmas Day for some families.

This week the food bank is in need of tinned meat, gravy granules, jars of pasta sauce, stuffing, jam, dilute squash and children’s shampoo.

As well as these basic items, the food bank is encouraging you to donate seasonal foods such as mince pies or Christmas puddings.

If you are able to donate some items, please consider doing so.

The items can be donated at my office on Stanley Street in Worksop.

Last week in Parliament, a young campaigner called Zack Kerr visited to talk about his ambition to make toilets at service stations accessible for those with disabilities.

Zack has cerebral palsy and he has found that most service station toilets are not usable for him to change in.

This is also a problem faced by many thousands of disabled adults and children when they go out on trips to shops, visitor attractions and family outings, some of which are often curtailed due to the lack of suitable toilet facilities.

Zack’s online petition has been signed by more than 100,000 people.

I fully back his campaign and have signed the Early Day Motion in Parliament which calls on a Changing Places toilets to be installed at every service station in the UK.

This summer, the council opened a Changing Places toilet in Retford town centre following a campaign led by local mum, Alison Beevers.

Worksop residents can access a Changing Places toilet at the library.

But we need more in Bassetlaw and across the country.

Zack’s campaign has drawn national attention to such an important issue and I hope that in the near future we will have a Changing Places facility in every service station in the UK.

I applaud Zack for his hard work on this.