The young woman helping hundreds of neighbours through the cost of living crisis
An activist who uses her own money to pay for food for the most vulnerable members of her community has said the government is "destroying lives".
Tanisha Bramwell runs the Bramwell CIC Food Bank in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, and even tops up struggling locals' gas and electricity from her own pocket.
Bramwell, 28, delivers free food to the homes of vulnerable people in her local area who are struggling to survive during the cost of living crisis.
She has run the community food bank – which supplies meals for up to 400 people each week – since 2020.
Bramwell spends £500-a-week on food that is then packaged up and delivered to vulnerable people in Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield.
Bramwell, from Dewsbury in Kirklees, said: "I wanted change locally and rather than sitting around and hoping someone would help, I decided to do it myself.
"The other thing that inspired me is the children in my life. My nieces and nephews are growing up in the same communities I did.
"I wanted to make their little worlds a little better than ours was."
The food bank, which is run from a "gifted" town centre unit, relies on funding streams and donations from people moved by its social channels.
Since 7pm last night up until 7.30am this morning, our food bank has received over 100 message requests for food parcels or gas support.
Each message details someone’s life, and there hardships. We have been back logged for some time.
Food banks are overwhelmed. Bare with us.
— Tanisha Bramwell Community Activist (@tanishabramwell) March 13, 2023
Update #4 - As many of you know we’ve been supporting a homeless gentleman from Batley.
After almost a week of hotel stays and appointments, HE NOW HAS ACCOMMODATION. We are still supporting him. Bridge-it housing have been incredible. 🙏🏼
— Tanisha Bramwell Community Activist (@tanishabramwell) March 9, 2023
The resource has always relied on charitable donations to survive, but in the past year Bramwell herself – as well as her volunteers – have used their own money to help keep it afloat.
She is now looking for a long-term sponsor so the service can keep going.
In an appeal for help, Bramwell said the cost of living crisis "doesn't need to be here" and that it was the fault of the government, which has "refused to instate adequate support packages".
She said: "We are saving lives. Our government are destroying them."
Footage on the food bank's social media channels shows her on her daily rounds, doing a big supermarket shop and going to people's homes with tailor-made deliveries.
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She often pays to top up gas and electricity meters for those who simply can not afford them, and says that she spends an estimated £400-a-week doing this.
Bramwell says her hope for the future is that she can close her food bank, but that with the cost of living crisis as it is, this feels impossible to envisage any time soon.
She said: "Food banks are a lifeline, but we are a short-term fix. Nobody should normalise food banks because they're not normal.
"My role will always be to help. As social needs change. I don’t know what the future holds just yet but that’s the exciting part.
"Until then, we keep going."