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Chipping Barnet Foodbank 2018

The Chipping Barnet FoodBank, based at St Peter’s Parish Centre in Somerset Road, helps to feed people in desperate need and supplies enough food for a few days in exchange for a voucher from an authorised voucher holder (these are located in places like churches, doctors’ surgeries and rehab centres).  The FoodBank is supported by around 170 volunteers who are rota-ed on to help during the opening times of Tuesday afternoons (12 – 2 pm) and Saturday mornings (10 am – 12 noon), as well as to sort donations on a Monday evening and Thursday morning.   The team of enthusiastic volunteers undertake various duties : sorting, checking and date-labelling food, making tea/coffee and chatting to the clients and fulfilling the vouchers brought in with bags of food.  Some Duke of Edinburgh students have also been helping with voluntary duties this year.

The Annual General Meeting took place recently with some interesting statistics reported for this year:  the FoodBank is still growing in terms of the amount of food received in and given out, although demand has outstripped supply so top up items have been purchased on occasion.  There was a 9.33% increase on the number of vouchers fulfilled and a 4% increase in the number of people fed.  (Overall the Trussell Trust Foodbanks in the UK saw a 13% increase on the previous year).   5.72% more food was distributed and there has been a welcome 15% increase in the amount of food donated.

This year, in addition to the general Foodbank training, safeguarding and manual handling training, there’s been a well-attended “signposting” workshop to familiarise volunteers with the various leaflets and local services available to clients.  The idea of the sign-posting is to talk to the clients and try and point them in the direction of help and possible longer term solutions to their problems.  The Trussell Trust are encouraging this approach.  The most common reasons for people visiting the FoodBank are benefit related issues and low income.  It is anticipated that there will be increased demand for vouchers for people experiencing hardship due to Universal Credit.

Congratulations are due to the FoodBank manager, Martine Whitaker, who received a very well deserved award for Outstanding Service to the Community from the Mayor of Barnet earlier this year.

In addition to the voucher clients, the FoodBank has continued to distribute food to local charities -  Solace Women’s Aid have received donated blankets and plates as well as the food, and close links with the Dollis Valley Rainbow Centre have continued – they were given a substantial amount of food during the summer for their “Make Lunch” programme and they are helped to support local families whose children are entitled to free school meals during term time.  Local schools were also offered additional vouchers for over the summer holidays to distribute to families who would be entitled to free school meals.

In December the FoodBank will be running its Christmas Angels programme again and making deliveries to nominated families who are in extra need.  30 families were fed last December through this scheme.  There will also be another reverse advent appeal, whereby scouts and school children add food items to a box - this was very successful last year.

As always it’s great to see the FoodBank thriving and being so well supported but also sad that there’s an obvious continued need for it in our local community. 

For those that want to help with food donations, please check the Brookside notices for current shortages.  These are also posted on the Chipping Barnet FoodBank website and their FaceBook page.  https://chippingbarnet.foodbank.org.uk/ 


The website also has details of opportunities for volunteering and they welcome financial donations so if you feel you are able to give an amount monthly, there are standing order forms on the website and any support would be very much appreciated.

The FoodBank is very grateful to everybody who helps them – the duty volunteers, people who make financial and food donations, and also those bringing items in regularly to Barnet Brookside and to those who kindly transport the goods from Brookside to the FoodBank.