Keynsham Foodbank opens new centre to help more people in food crisis

Published on: 30 Jun 2017

Keynsham Foodbank is to open a fourth centre to distribute food to meet rising demand from local people finding themselves in financial crisis.

The organisation gave food parcels, made up of items donated by the public, to 749 people last year, up from 350 in 2015/16, with volunteers saying a growing number of clients are working people on low wages.

The fourth distribution centre will open at Saltford Church Hall in Saltford High Street on July 7, where it will be staffed by volunteers led by Norman Osborne. It will open every Friday from 10.30am until noon and joins the foodbank’s other centres at Victoria Methodist Church Key Centre, The Link Community Hub in Bishop Sutton and St Francis Church Hall, Keynsham.

Foodbank coordinator Alan Hale said: “The opening of this new distribution centre is to be celebrated in an odd way because what is demonstrated is the love and kindness that exists within the community to help those who are in food crisis or trying to balance too many commitments at that moment on a very restricted budget. It will also mean that our service to the community is improved. 

“Now that Bath & North East Somerset is fully transferred over to Universal Credit for the payment of benefits we are facing a much greater demand than we did at the outset in late 2013. However, it is not all about those receiving benefits because one of our largest client groups are those who are in employment but on a very low wage.”

As well as essential items such as cereals, bread and tinned food, the foodbank also provides school holiday food bags for all children entitled to free school meals or who are subject to pupil premium who will not get that free meal during the holidays.

Mr Hale added: “I would like to thank the Rev Daile Wilshere at St Mary’s Church, Saltford who raised this project with me and who has provided the venue and promoted it to the volunteers who have come forward.

“I would also like to thank Dawn Elliott, head teacher at Saltford CofE Primary School, who has given enthusiastic support to the project through the school and I am sure we will work positively together for the good of the community. 

“I would, of course, wish to give sincere thanks to everyone who donates food to us because it is the community that provides the food to feed those in crisis, we just provide the process.”

Anyone who would like to donate food to Keynsham Foodbank will find collection boxes at Waitrose and Tesco in Keynsham, where there are also updated lists of the shopping items the team needs most.

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