Here is an introduction to our project.
Grantham foodbank arose from preliminary work done in 2010 by Brian Handbury, Lay Outreach Worker at Harrowby Lane Methodist Church, on behalf of Churches Together in Grantham and District which culminated in a public meeting in November that year. This showed wide church and community support for establishing a foodbank as part of the national foodbank network established by the Trussell Trust in Salisbury.
A project board was convened in December 2010 from volunteers with appropriate experience from a number of churches. A constitution was approved by the project board in February 2011, and an application made to the Charity Commissioners for registration in mid-year.
Over 100 people signed up to express an interest in working as volunteers with the foodbank at its inception and over the years of operation well over 200 volunteers have been involved . We were blessed in discovering several highly gifted and committed volunteers from within the churches of the town to fill the senior roles within the operation.
We have been overwhelmed by the level of support, both financial and in kind, that the project has received outside of the churches as well as within. Some very significant offers of support came almost as a surprise. We are grateful to all those who have enabled the foodbank to be put on a firm footing. This level of support from the churches and the wider community has continued but after six years of operation income is failing to keep up with expenditure.
Over 200 people attended the launch event at Harrowby Lane Methodist Church on the 1st July 2011. Both the churches and the community were well represented including Nick Boles (then Member of Parliament for Grantham and Stamford).
The Foodbank Centre in St Catherine’s Road was officially opened on Monday 25th July 2011 by Vernon Goldberg, Managing Director of Quality Furniture and one of our early supporters. These premises have provided us with both warehousing and distribution facilities located right in the heart of the town. Our thanks go to Grantham Estates for enabling us to use the premises as our first home.
In October 2014 the Foodbank moved to Unit 1-2 Grey Friars to provide more suitable warehousing accommodation and space to expand the work of the project again with the assistance of Grantham Estates.
Several supermarket collections are made each the year generating between 600Kgs and 900Kgs of food. We have been warmly welcomed by both ASDA and Sainsburys and would like to thank their staff for their co-operation on collection days.
A network of foodbank collection points has been established in churches, schools, shops and businesses. Although the amount of food collected by this method was initially smaller than at the supermarkets, it now accounts for the bulk of the food coming into the foodbank. Very significant contributions are also made to our stocks from various Harvest collections and other events.>
The level of food distribution has grown over the years. This is partly due to the recruitment of more voucher holders and partly to the increased need as the budget cuts bite more deeply. The aim of the Trussell Trust is to campaign for changes which might reduce the need for foodbanks. In the meantime we will try to serve those who find themselves in a crisis.
A three year business plan was prepared to guide the initial development of the foodbank. The provision of food to those in crisis situations is an important start to helping them. But in our vision this is not the end. We want to help them to avoid future crises by supporting them in dealing with the underlying causes of the crisis and in their personal self-development. A revised business plan for the next three years is prepared each year and is published with the annual report.