Even in apparently prosperous Northallerton, there is now a food bank helping people who are unable to always afford food for their families. The cost-of-living crisis means that not only the homeless and the unemployed, but even people in work are finding it difficult if they are on the minimum wage, as so many are.
The FoodShare initiative provides three-day food parcels for those referred to them by agencies or who refer themselves. It was set up by Churches Together, Age UK and others, and staffed by an admirable group of volunteers.
The scheme also raises funds by offering shoppers and passers-by an excellent soup of the day and bread for just Â£2, or tea & biscuits for Â£1. They are located just off the High Street in Northallerton, down the alleyway leading to the Zion United Reform Church.
Perhaps the cost-of-living crisis explains the collapse of the Tory support in this traditionally Conservative stronghold. Campaigning with local Labour Party members on a bustling market day, very few people told us they intended to vote for the Conservatives (or indeed Lib Dems). Former Conservatives seemed to split into three roughly equal groups: those intending to vote Labour, those who won’t vote at all, and those intending to vote UKIP — though the latter often change their mind after a discussion.