Thursday, 9 March 2017

Ashby Foodbank

Ashby foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust network of 410 foodbanks; opened in May 2013 we are now nearly four years old.
Trussell Trust is a Christian Charity whose aim is to show the love of Jesus reaching out to others by providing emergency food for people in crisis.
It works on a referral system and unlike other independent foodbanks only gives out dried or tinned food making up a balanced diet for the recipients, 10 meals per family member for three days, in addition other goods such as toilet roll, toothpaste, soap and other essentials are included if they are available.
Ashby foodbank is supported by all of the Churches and schools in Ashby, and also in the immediate surrounding area, who of whom provide us with volunteers and food donations; we have a current stock level of around 3.5 tonnes.
We are open on Tuesday morning from 9.30 – 11.30am and on Friday from 2.30 – 4.30pm.
Emergency boxes are held by several (outside of Ashby) agencies including One Recovery Addiction Centre and Trent & Dove Housing Association in Burton, Sinfin and Coleman Street Health Centre’s and Austin Children’s Centre in Derby.
While the food pack is being made up a volunteer sign-poster will sit and chat to the client over a cup of tea. Through general conversation (we are not allowed to ask direct questions) they try to find the pressure points and stresses, often multiple reasons, affecting that person’s life.
The foodbank is not an extension of social services but is there to help break the cycle of dependency, by listening and then pointing the client to the service or services best able to help them.
Clients may be referred to the foodbank up to three times, after this contact must be made with the referring agency to ascertain if other help is in hand, of course no-one will be refused food if they are in need.
Surprisingly there are many local families (in what is perceived to be a relatively affluent area) living below the poverty line and struggling to feed their families, mostly because of debt, illness, delay in benefits, family breakdown, redundancy or a combination of these things. We have recently seen an increase in single people and single parent families.
Each red voucher asks for specific information, the total number of family members, children (under 16) and adults, their address including postcode, the main reason they have been referred and any secondary reasons.  We are finding that the reason stated on the voucher may not be the root cause of the situation, and this is where the signposting volunteer is invaluable in building up a birds-eye view of the person’s life.
We work closely with Cap Debt Help, they often refer clients to the foodbank when they are managing their lives on a very tight budget , we in turn find many clients reluctant to admit to debt, but if they do, we signpost them to CAP.
We also refer clients to CAP Money Course to learn about managing their money using a cash only system CAP Job Club and from now onwards CAP Release Group.
We look forward to helping more local families during 2017.

Noreen Mewies
February 2017