Soroush Sagdeghzadeh – Middlesbrough Food Bank

On 17th October, the sixth form students at Kings Academy were privileged to have Soroush come in to speak about Middlesbrough food bank and the rising issue of poverty and what the best way to deal with it is.

Soroush explained to us about how there is often a negative attitude towards food banks and how people often blame food banks saying they increase poverty as people get in the habit of ‘scrounging’ off them. However, Soroush told us the truth about how ‘difficult’ in some cases it can be to have access to a foodbank as in order to receive help and support people have to be assessed and referred – some of our sixth formers thought this was a good thing, although it raised some questions by some as to what would happen if someone who was in dire need of help hadn’t been assessed and whether or not they would still receive a food donation. Soroush told us that in the first instance he would always give people the benefit of the doubt and offer them a small amount of food until they get assessed.

Soroush has worked at Middlesbrough foodbank for 3 years now and when he first started working he thought he would be out of the job within 5 years as he though this type of poverty would be eradicated – he told us how he was wrong and didn’t realise the scale this happens on and to hear about the reality of it in our home town Middlesbrough, struck the hearts of many of our sixth formers.

Many questions and discussions were able to take place when Soroush came into speak with us, such as, if he had ever had to turn anyone away, how much food Middlesbrough food bank give away, when is the busiest time for Middlesbrough foodbank and what we could donate particularly around Christmas time to make families who rely on Middlesbrough food banks feel ‘normal’ and just like us?

Charlie Murkin, Year 12

The King's Academy