Keynsham Food Bank founder resigns

August 06 2021

A number of volunteers have resigned from Keynsham Food Bank in a clash over how the service is run.

They include Alan Hale, chairman and project manager, who founded the food bank nine years ago. He said that 21 others had also left their posts.

The food bank said it would continue to be fully operational despite the resignations.

Mr Hale told the Voice: “We have recently had a change of leadership within the trustees and the style is alien to what has been used to great effect with volunteers, happy and successfully, for nine years.”

“As a result, some members of the management group held a meeting, out of which came a motion of no confidence in the trustees.

“However, the trustees collectively declined the request to resign and inconsequence I felt that I had to resign, albeit with a heavy heart.”

Suzy Bassett, a manager at the food bank warehouse in Marksbury, has also resigned.

She said: “The trustees should have supported Alan and the management committee. Instead, they have, in my opinion, treated us in a dreadful manner.”

She accused the trustees of showing “a lack of respect for us who work so hard to do what we all joined Keynsham Food Bank for - and that is to make sure no one goes to bed hungry”. 

Mr Hale added: “I am very proud of what I and the team of volunteers have achieved.

“It is such a desperate shame that the trustees have managed to overturn a happy and effective food bank in just a matter of a little over four months.”

A spokesperson for the food bank said of the resignations: “Our charity's values are built on dignity, respect and fairness, and it would be against our values to comment further.

“We thank them for their significant contribution to the work of the charity over many years, in supporting people in crisis in our community.

“We reassure local people that Keynsham Food Bank continues to offer a full level of emergency food provision.”

Other volunteers who confirmed to the Voice that they had resigned included Lesley Organ, Mr Hale’s deputy; Sue Elson, warehouse manager; Lyn Thomas, distribution centre manager; her deputy Nicola Nash; and Sue Mansfield, health and safety manager.

Mr Hales said that, in addition to these, two deputy managers and 12 non-management volunteers had also resigned.

The food bank spokesperson said that it had provided more than 800 emergency food parcels in the past year and continued its service throughout the pandemic, thanks to a home delivery scheme launched in partnership with local charity Keynsham and District Dial-A-Ride.

It reopened its walk-in food bank centre at Saltford on July 9, and face-to-face collections have resumed for the first time since the start of the pandemic, alongside the delivery scheme.

Anyone who needs the food bank’s help should continue to contact the network of professionals who issue e-vouchers – they include the Citizens Advice Bureau, the BANES Welfare Support Team on 01225 477277, as well as GPs, nurses, health visitors, social workers, and church ministers.