One of our newest charity partners is Wandsworth Foodbank who have a storage unit in our brand new Wandsworth branch. They store non-perishable food items used to provide emergency packages for those in need. The charity also supports people in crisis within the Inner London area and at this time of year, they find themselves inundated with donations. However there are times throughout the year when foodbanks are low on provisions, putting vulnerable people in unthinkable situations.
Where it all began
In 2013 research was carried out in Wandsworth investigating the needs of the community. The results revealed that lots of people were living in poverty - some wards have child poverty levels that are twice the national average. From talking to care professionals locally the foodbank team discovered that they were regularly working with people who were suffering hunger and staff were often trying to help by purchasing food from their own pockets. The foodbank team saw that sadly, like every other London borough, a foodbank project was necessary.
What foodbanks do
The foodbank provides emergency food and support to local people in crisis. People are referred to the Wandsworth team by local care professionals (GPs, social workers, charities, schools and children’s centres). Their five centres are open 7 days a week between them, where people in crisis can come and receive a nutritionally balanced food parcel and some further support.
The amazing volunteers sit and listen over a cup of tea, often offering further help through signposting, or a referral to the dedicated Citizen’s Advice Advisor to help resolve the crisis. The foodbank also partners with Fuelbanks and Families, another fantastic local charity offering support to families experiencing fuel poverty with their gas and electricity costs at home.
Ian came to the foodbank from the Job Centre; experiencing problems accessing benefits whilst looking for work meant that he and his family didn’t have any food in the house or any money to buy food. As well providing emergency food and a listening ear, the foodbank staff were able to introduce Ian to Putney Job Club, a fantastic project run by a church locally.
At the job club, Ian was helped to brush up his CV and interview skills and look for work. Within a month Ian had found work and was able to provide for his family again. Fuelbanks and Families also provided a grant towards the cost of further training to help in his career longer-term.
How to offer your support
There are tonnes of ways you can support Wandsworth Foodbank – check out their ‘give help
’ page for advice on ways you can participate and provide help. From donating food or money to volunteering your time, the foodbank welcomes all forms of participation. You can also reach out to them on Twitter @wandsworthFB