Foodbank distribution centres to re-open as lockdown eases

In February, Ely Foodbank was 'overwhelmed' by 650kg of donations

In February, Ely Foodbank was 'overwhelmed' by 650kg of donations. Social media admin Georgie's home was the delivery address for the wishlist donations. She is pictured hiding amongst the boxes which took over her whole kitchen and living room. - Credit: ELY FOODBANK

Cathy Wright, project director at Ely Foodbank, on how volunteers have adapted to help those in need during lockdown. 

As with the rest of the country, Ely Foodbank is looking forward to enjoying fewer restrictions and will be opening up some of the centres for people to collect food. 

Since January, the foodbank has been running a delivery service to clients needing help.  

But, from Tuesday May 18, distribution centres in March and Ely will open their doors to those in need of help.   

Even during lockdown, the foodbank in and around Ely have remained open, thanks to the amazing efforts from the volunteers, sometimes risking their own health in order to keep food moving to those less fortunate.      

The virus meant that it became a food-collecting point and conversations with clients happened later via a phone call.  

Our message is that we want to move people on from the situations they find themselves and by signposting to other professionals can ensure people get the advice they need.   

With a dedicated phone line to a citizens advice worker, clients can receive advice for their issues.   

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We don’t want people to become dependent on us, and our aim is to move people on, either by giving them life skills or finding better tariffs on bills will begin to build a picture of a life without foodbanks. 

The foodbank has reached into more rural communities since last year, relying on a small team of volunteers to get food to people in less connected areas.    

As the Trussell Trust reported, from April 2020 to March 2021, 2.1 million people were given a food parcel from their 1,200 foodbanks. 

This is a warning that ‘hidden poverty’ is still a major problem in the UK, and no less so in our county.   

Those needing help from the foodbank do need to ask a supporting agency for a voucher which is now issued electronically.  

This gives everyone partnered with the foodbank a more efficient way of working together, as paper vouchers become a thing of the past.   

Centres in smaller communities will continue to deliver food to those needing help, and full information is seen on our Facebook page and web site www.elyfoodbank.org.uk  

It has been a year full of changes in response to the pandemic, but the foodbank has remained a constant. 

Our remit is to move people on from the issues they find themselves, and we have seen many people benefit from extra assistance. 

The incredible support from individuals, companies, and community groups has meant we can offer different kinds of help to clients. 

This ranges from sometimes clearing a garden or helping to purchase a carpet gives a huge boost to people who find each day to be a physical and emotional struggle.   

When people are in a crisis, it’s never just about the food. 

Anyone needing help or wishing to volunteer please do get in touch at info@ely.foodbank.org.uk  

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