Backlash as food banks and hospitals announce they'll close for Queen's funeral

·3-min read
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Earlier this week it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II's funeral – which will take place on Monday 19th September – would be marked by a bank holiday here in the UK. Although the news was welcomed by royal fans keen to keep up with the day's events on TV or by lining the streets to say their goodbyes, others were less excited at the prospect and pointed out the implications that this might cause as Britain heads deeper into a national cost of living crisis.

Most recently, the planned closure of some food banks and hospitals has caused further backlash. To recap, several food banks shared that they would be closed on Monday as a "mark of respect" to Her Majesty, whilst GP surgeries and hospitals also said they'd be shutting for the event, meaning that appointments and scheduled operations would be pushed back – despite the increasing backlog of lifesaving surgeries due to the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I’m absolutely livid. I honestly feel like it’s an attack on the most vulnerable in society to close food banks for the Queen’s funeral. I’ve queued with the elderly all the way to young families waiting to get food. It’s desperate. Do you think this is what the Queen would want?" one person said on Twitter, as another person wrote: "I can't express in words how tragic I find it that food banks which are helping the most needy in society are to be closed next Monday for the funeral of the Queen. It's beyond awful."

"I fully respect businesses that choose to close on the day of the Queen’s funeral. However GP surgeries, food banks and other essential services?? I’m really struggling to understand the logic??" a third person added to the conversation, whilst someone else chimed in with: "Food banks shut, cancer check-ups cancelled, GP surgeries to close for royal funeral. People struggling with basic existence being made to mourn the dead (who had medics, and no doubt food, on call every moment of their very long and healthy life)."

Someone else simply said: "If the Queen dies people don't need to eat."

Photo credit: Finnbarr Webster - Getty Images
Photo credit: Finnbarr Webster - Getty Images

But not everyone took the same stance, with some people saying that this anger is misplaced. "Nobody but nobody should have a go at charities who were planning to close food banks, run by volunteers, for the Queen's funeral. I understand the need for them to be open but it's the creation of that need people should be angry about so have a go at the government instead," someone tweeted.

"It's a bank holiday do you expect volunteers to work on a bank holiday and miss the queen's funeral? The food bank isn't a right, you know it's run by volunteers to try to help other people," another person said.

In response to the backlash, the Trussel Trust – a nonprofit organisation that supports a nationwide network of food banks – defended the independent decisions of food banks, with a spokesperson saying that they were given the option to close or stay open on the day of national mourning.

"Food banks are all independent, but we have emailed saying it is a bank holiday and they can decide what to do," the spokesperson said. "It really depends on the local need on the ground, the volunteers will know if they are particularly quiet on a Monday, or if it is a busier day."

But some food banks reversed the decision to close on Monday in light of the public outcry, with the Trussell Trust’s Wimbledon branch deleting its tweet announcing the closure and saying: "Due to the overwhelming support we have received we now have volunteers to run our Monday session as usual."

You Might Also Like