A NEW food kitchen for deprived people has begun operating in central Keighley.

Keighley Community Kitchen held its first session on July 23 in Project 6's Progress building, in Russell Street.

It has been set up under the umbrella of Keighley Food Poverty Action Partnership by East Morton couple Simon and Rachel Shimbles and Long Lee residents Jo Newton and Tim Holt.

Mrs Shimbles said: "So far we've been providing soup, sandwiches, coffee, tea and biscuits free of charge for anyone who needs it, though we are getting more adventurous with our cooking.

"We're open from 6.15pm until 7.30pm at 12a Russell Street."

She thanked everyone who had helped get the new food kitchen off the ground, including Keighley's branch of the Salvation Army.

She said numbers of users of the kitchen had increased dramatically since July 23, with more than 20 people attending on August 6.

Graham Mitchell, chairman of Keighley Food Poverty Action Partnership, said: "I'm delighted to see the establishment of this new soup and sandwiches provision in the Progress building at Project 6.

"Monday evenings had previously been served by Keighley Association Women and Children's Centre, in Grange Street. Unfortunately those meals had to stop through a lack of funding.

"Thanks to the kind efforts of the Shimbles and their volunteer helpers we now once again have provision of free food from Mondays through to Saturdays.

"Additionally, on the first Sunday of the month, there is a similar facility at Hainworth Wood Community Centre, between 10am and 2pm. It provides both breakfasts and lunches and is organised by Sajjad Sadiq and his supporters at the centre.

"The partnership will now be producing a new food information card, which we'll be widely distributing to enable vulnerable and needy people to identify exactly where they can receive not only free food but also advice and general help."