Chantal Lee at Newark Foodbank
Chantal Lee at Newark Foodbank

Newark General Election candidate Chantal Lee has pledged that, if elected, she will give away 10% of her salary to charity.

Miss Lee was speaking after the local Labour Party made a substantial donation to the town's foodbank.

"I myself have used foodbanks in the past," said Miss Lee, who contributed to the donation of canned and packet foods, toiletries and household goods.

"It is something that is very close to my heart.

"I knew the Labour Party in Newark already had a link to the foodbank. It is something that I really wanted to get on board with."

Miss Lee said the 10% salary giveaway would be to charities local to the Newark area, including the foodbank.

"Using them is not a nice thing to have to do."

She said she had used the Salvation Army foodbank in Nottingham as well as the one in the St Ann's district of the city where she lives.

"I understand the feelings that come with having to use foodbanks," said Miss Lee, who has a nine-month-old daughter.

"Using them is not a nice thing to have to do; it is not particularly empowering.

"We need to do everything possible to reduce the stigma of having to use them, because for many they are a necessity to put food on the table in many households.

"While the fact they exist is a real tragedy of our times, it is vital that we support them -because they are needed.

"What we need to do is to alleviate poverty in our country."

Miss Lee defied all of the odds to gain a first class degree in Youth Justice from Nottingham Trent University.

By the age of 14 she had lost her brother, left school, experienced child poverty and homelessness, lived in a hostel and cared for a drug-addicted parent.

"I really want to tackle some of these issues," she told the Advertiser: "Starting in my own constituency."

She set herself on a different path at 16 when she started a BTEC in health and social care at Basford Hall College in Nottingham.

She now works for a Nottinghamshire-based women's refuge charity and previously worked for a national charity that provides learning services in some of Britain's poorest areas.

She says she wants to turn the stereotypical image of an MP on its head.