KINGSBRIDGE AREA FOODBANK
PROGRESS REPORT for A.G.M. 9th June 2015
In the year June 2014 to end of May 2015, we provided 463 handouts from our base at the Age Concern building, of which 268 were for singles, 73 for couples, and 122 for Families. The weekly average was 8.9. (In the previous June to May 12 months, the total was 498, at a weekly average of 9.6.) This excludes Christmas hampers from Holy Trinity, Salcombe. A few of the handouts were delivered to clients in their homes.
Regular provision for all the food items implied in the above has continued well - from the collecting bins at Tesco, Morrisons, and at Age Concern; from harvest collections at local schools and churches; and from churches and groups from time to time. In November we assisted in a week-long food collection at Tesco, from which we received 20% of all that was donated. In addition to all those non-perishable items, we received regular amounts of bread (as unsold in local bakeries on Fridays), and slightly mis-shaped pies from Clive’s Pies (sometimes more than we can use, which we then pass on to the Dartmouth foodbank). There have also been other, more random donations - vegetables in season in the summer, large packets of soup via Tesco, Easter eggs from an initiative at NatWest bank, and recently several boxes of grapefruit and oranges left over from a local wedding.
We had been shopping for items most weeks to make up particular items in short supply, but Colin’s ‘shopping list’ initiative has enable supporters to buy just what we need at the supermarkets, resulting in a better balanced weekly input.
We have taken on an extra store room at Age Concern, and acquired a small freezer to use as well as the existing refrigerator, to deal with the amount and variety of items which we are given. This has inevitably increased the cost of running the project. We have continued to receive funding from a range of sources (as the treasurer will report), not least as petty cash from individuals and special local collections. Our sincere thanks to all who have helped in this way.
Other donations included toys and books, etc. at Christmas to offer to our clients. We agreed that alcoholic drinks should not be part of what we offer them. Also, in the non-food department, we were recently given several large boxes of nappies.
Inevitably, if cautiously, we have moved beyond just offering food items to our clients. From time to time we are able to offer meat vouchers for the purchase of fresh meat at a local butcher. At Christmas we distributed a limited number of vouchers for purchase of appropriate fresh food at Tesco. Recently, Crazy Quilts gave us vouchers for our clients to obtain quilts for their children. It’s taken a long time, but vouchers to get fruit and vegetables at Alan’s Apple are nearly ready. And just recently we have been offered vouchers for our clients to get a Salcombe Dairy ice cream at the local kiosk.
With the end of the Discretionary Welfare Fund at SHDC (due to central government cuts), the possibility of offering help with gas and electricity top-ups (via key and card payments) to our clients in appropriate need has fallen entirely on ourselves. We are grateful to those who have provided funding specifically for this.
We were able to make a start with a Cookery Club, run with great expertise and enthusiasm by Angie Greenham. Using the kitchen at Age Concern limited the number who could take part to only two or three, and it increased our weekly rent payment significantly. We have sought to find more suitable premises, and possibly a different focus, but have made no progress since Easter.
We have made a start with running the CAP Money Course (help with budgeting and generally managing personal income and expenses), but attendance has been disappointing, in spite of our latest attempt to run the 3 or 4 week course on a Saturday morning alongside the distribution point.
We had been concerned for many months about the lack of effective activity at the Salcombe distribution outpost. Some clients were still attending at Kingsbridge, while others needed home deliveries. The matter was resolved when those involved at Salcombe decided themselves that the distribution point there should be closed down.
For our Saturday morning Age Concern distribution point, we have revised our recording procedures during the year, for both food handouts and fuel top-ups, tightened up on clients’ renewal of eligibility, and tried to establish that volunteers are on duty for 2 overlapping weeks running, to ensure continuity.
We have a website and a dedicated mobile phone number, but these do not seem to have been used very much. We have recently established that our volunteers do not need DBS checks. At their invitation, we have given presentations to the local Guides and to Loddiswell WI, and were well received at both. We have continued to maintain contact with the other relevant voluntary groups and official bodies through the Kingsbridge Welfare Forum and the South Hams Welfare Task Group.
In September we were visited again by our MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston, who was very supportive and enquired about any mental health issues among our clients.
Finally, we have noted various examples of continuing national publicity regarding foodbanks in the media, and that not all of it has been very positive. Inevitably, we get caught up in wider political issues, some of which mean that foodbanks are likely to go on being needed for some time yet.
Roger Tyler (Secretary) 9th June 2015 .
Copyright: Kingsbridge Food Bank 2013