Food bank loses its town 'warehouse'
Staff at Home Sense in Hartcliffe with produce that the store donated to Keynsham Food Bank
KEYNSHAM Food Bank has been forced to move its ‘warehouse’ out of town.
Since opening its distribution centres in 2013, the food bank has been hosted by Broadlands Academy, which has allowed it to store stock in a redundant classroom free of charge.
The arrangement had already been put under pressure by a significant increase in demand for the food bank’s services and the need for the school to enforce its safeguarding requirements.
But now that the school has been closed because of the coronavirus, the food bank has been forced to seek new premises.
A suitable alternative in Keynsham has yet to be found, so the ‘warehouse’ has been temporarily moved to a site in Longwell Green.
Food bank chairman and coordinator Alan Hale said: "We are extremely grateful to Broadlands. But the pressures upon us now dictate that we need a more flexible and accessible 'warehouse' unit.
“We would love to find something in town, but as yet we have been unsuccessful.
“So in the meantime we have had to rent storage accommodation at Lok'nStore in Longwell Green.”
Demand on the food bank has risen significantly because of the coronavirus outbreak. Prior to the week beginning March 17, the food bank had this fiscal year fed 1,149 attendees, including 514 children - 50% more than the previous fiscal year. But this last week the team have fed more than 100 people.
As some businesses are closing down for the duration of the virus, they have been offering food to the food bank - Priston Mill (due to a cancelled wedding), TK Maxx in Brislington and Home Sense at Hartcliffe, which has given more than 80 large carrier bags full of produce. A local Wetherspoons is also giving a consignment of food.
Keynsham Rotary Club has donated the costs of its cancelled dinner meeting to the food bank. Other members of the community have given individual cash donations.
Alan Hale continued: “The local community has been great, and many volunteers have come forward as some of our regular volunteers felt they had to step back because of their age in relation to the virus.
“We are hopeful that our move out of town will only be for a short period.
“Should any businesses or benefactors feel they can offer us accommodation in Keynsham or are willing to help with sponsorship of our current accommodation to some degree, we would love to hear from them.
“In the meantime, I would urge our generous community in Keynsham and Saltford to continue to donate food via the drop boxes at Tesco and Waitrose, because there are so many in food crisis at the moment.”
Athough the warehouse has moved, the two distributions in Keynsham and the one in Saltford remain open during their usual hours.
The food bank can be contacted on 0117 9837923 or via firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be made via bank transfer to sort code 60-12-11, account number 26641860.