Thursday, 15 April 2021

Food bank still helping needy families in pandemic thanks to £3,000 grant

Food bank still helping needy families in pandemic thanks to £3,000 grant

THE food bank in Sonning Common has received a £3,000 grant from a power company to help it expand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Good Neighbour Food Bank, which was started by parishioners of Springwater Church in Blounts Court Road, was allocated the money by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ resilient communities fund.

The parish council applied for the grant on behalf of the church when demand for the food bank was increasing.

The food bank provides 28 families in the village with fresh fruit and vegetables, non-perishable food items and toiletries every week.

Linsey Potter, who is a co-pastor of the church with her husband Kevin, said: “We were thrilled to bits to get the grant as we do get community donations, which are fantastic but aren’t enough to sustain the food bank. We were able to hire a salaried manager, Jayne Hill, who manages the bank for six hours a week and the rest has gone on buying food.

“We feed about 70 people as part of 28 families, which means quite a lot of food.

“The grant has meant we could carry on, which is great.”

Becky Jenkins, deputy clerk of the council, said: “When the pandemic hit, the council reached out to local residents to find out how it could help and where that help was needed most.

“It quickly became apparent that assisting the food bank was the main priority in the village and we turned to SSEN for the extra help we needed to support the food bank due to the increased demand.

“The food bank is now well-established through the ongoing work of the volunteers, so we intend to keep it open for as long as it is needed. We would like to thank those who continue to give their time or donate goods.

“We’d also like to thank SSEN for its support and for helping us to build a stronger community in Sonning Common.”

Anthony Urquhart, SSEN’s head of region, said: “The church, the council and their volunteers have shown how quickly they’ve been able to adapt to the issues that quickly arose at the start of the pandemic and how they continue to support their community.

“In addition to helping meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable residents in the village through the food bank, they have expanded a scheme that has built a network others can contribute to, either through their time or donations to the food bank.

“I’m proud that I have been able to help them achieve this.”

The company’s resilient communities fund was launched in 2015 and has provided £2.7million to 538 community projects across the country. The criteria to receive money changed last year in order to focus on initiatives responding to the pandemic.

Grants were available to projects that supported vulnerable people, enabled volunteers to support  other coronavirus initiatives and provided PPE to frontline workers.

Springwater Church is still accepting donations to the food bank, which will remain open for the forseeable future.

Mrs Potter said: “Originally we were going to stop in the summer but then we realised how long covid would be with us and the economic effects of it.

“Once numbers reduce other food banks have said they can take on the people who still need help.”

To donate, leave items in the box outside the church in Blounts Court Road.

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