Lancashire

Coronavirus: Blackpool Tower to help feed 'those in need' during crisis

Blackpool Tower Image copyright Blackpool Council
Image caption Utilising the landmark was "an amazing opportunity" to help those who need it, says Kate Shane

Blackpool Tower is being converted into a "vital" hub for food donations to feed thousands of vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak.

Merlin Entertainments said it had partnered up with Blackpool Food Bank to help "those in need" in the resort.

Using the town's famous landmark was "an amazing opportunity" after it closed in March for the first time in its 125-year history, the firm said.

Blackpool Food Bank said panic buying and shopping limits had hit donations.

Feeding Blackpool

Blackpool Tower is run by Merlin Entertainments on behalf of Blackpool Council.

Head of Blackpool Cluster Merlin Entertainments Group Kate Shane said she was calling the project 'Feeding Blackpool'.

"It is an amazing opportunity to use the building to help people who are struggling," she said.

"And I'm hoping the Tower encourages more people to donate - and those in need to come forward."

She said closing the attraction was "unchartered territory" but there was "no better use" than making it a drop off centre for food donations.

Thirty people who normally work at the attraction have volunteered to help out, she added.

Donations will be passed on to Blackpool Food Bank to distribute.

Neil Reid who founded the food bank described it as an "absolutely brilliant venture".

"It is more vital than ever because of panic buying there is no surplus to collect at supermarkets and with the limitations on purchases we have found it impossible to place orders for the tins we would normally buy to distribute."

Food donations such as pasta, rice and tins can be dropped off in the foyer of the promenade entrance starting Friday.

It will initially be 09:00 BST until 12:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Blackpool Tower - inspired by the Eiffel Tower - opened in 1894.

It remained open during both world wars but closed its doors temporarily on 23 March following government advice on the Covid-19 outbreak.

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