AN ATHERTON family are giving something back to the foodbank that offered them a lifeline when they were living off just £20 a week.

Alison Taylor, her two sons Adam, aged 22, and Andrew, aged 12, and partner Gordon Hipson were forced to return from a life abroad with nothing but three suitcases after a paperwork error meant they were given three days to leave Canada.

Alison moved to Spain in 2008 where she met Gordon and they opened a food shop together but the economic downturn left them with no choice but to move on or lose everything, so they tried their luck in Canada.

Alison, aged 42 of Dorset Road, said: “It was terrible. We were provided a temporary house by Wigan and Leigh Housing but we only had about £20 a week to live off and that doesn’t go far with a family of four.

“I was so worried, especially for Andrew.

“I didn’t want people to think we couldn’t look after him and I was scared that social services might get involved.

“He was great though, he just got on with it and adjusted really quickly.

“We just happened to be walking along the street and we noticed a sign for the foodbank and went in. It turned out to be the first day it opened and I can only describe it as fate.

“Taking all that food home was like winning the lottery, they threw us a lifeline.

“But they don’t just give you food, they referred us to Atherton Community School which Andrew now attends and in turn they helped us to furnish the house.

“The volunteers there will help you with anything and are there even if you just need a chat.”

“They are taking away the stigma of asking for help because they don’t criticise or judge you and take the embarrassment out of going to a foodbank.

Alison and Gordon are back on their feet and now give up their time to help other people who are in crisis.

Alison added: “We just want to give something back for everything they did for us.

“We do everything we can to help, from packing bags to collecting the donations. I don’t know what we would have done without it.”