Marlborough Area Foodbank to relaunch next month with a new vision
Marlborough Area Foodbank distribution centre at Christchurch will re-launch on the morning of Friday November 17. With the support of Marlborough Area Poverty Action Group (MAPAG) it is hoped to offer a home distribution service as well as raise awareness of what the Food Bank can offer and who can benefit from it.
Marlborough Area Foodbank is part of Devizes Foodbank. Established 10 years ago it is a franchise of the Trussell Trust, which has 400 Foodbanks in the UK. They provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis.
Liz Starling, Co-ordinator of the Devizes Foodbank, spoke to MAPAG on October 9. She explained how despite Marlborough being an affluent area, there are many families and individuals who may go hungry for a range of reasons.
Liz told the group: ”Redundancy, a benefit delay, receiving an unexpected bill on a low income can cause a crisis. A simple box of food makes a big difference, with foodbanks helping prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.”
“Since April this year we have been able to feed a total of 484 people, 185 of those were children under the age of 16.”
In Marlborough, food is donated in Tesco and Waitrose and taken to Devizes where it is sorted by volunteers into family and individual boxes to cover three days’ nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food.
Additionally, there is the problem of feeding children who are in receipt of free school meals in the holidays. The Foodbank is hoping to provide holiday boxes.
Devizes Foodbank works using a voucher referral system. Food Bank vouchers can be issued by a variety of care professionals, doctors, health visitors, schools, social workers. However, MAPAG are concerned that not everyone in the area is aware of the Foodbank and how to access it.
Betty Dobson, secretary to MAPAG, told marlborough.news: “Having a low income in a rural area is ‘harder’ to deal with than if you live in an urban area. It’s harder to access assistance, support and services and you may be the only person in that area who needs that support. So how do you access it? At a time when services are being cut back rural areas are vulnerable.”
All Foodbanks are very reliant on the generosity of donors, all those who give food, volunteers who give their time and for those who give money donations. Without these individuals, Devizes Foodbank would not be able to continue to help people in crisis.
Money donations to help with operating costs can be made on the Devizes Foodbank page of MyDonate.