This month marks 10 years of Slough Foodbank serving the local and surrounding communities – from Taplow in the West to Colnbrook in the East and from Gerrards Cross, The Farnhams and Iver to Datchet and parts of Windsor. A massive 35,479 3-day, non-perishable food parcels have been given out in that time.
This year alone, so far, we have supplied 6,117 food parcels. This is only possible with the help of over 180 referral agencies and hundreds of other groups and organisations working alongside and supporting us. This year has of course brought its own unique challenges. We are proud to have remained open throughout the pandemic serving people in food poverty with emergency 3-day nutritionally balanced food parcels. We have of course had to make significant changes to the way we run including:
- Covid-19 compliance and social distancing at distribution centres and our warehouse
- Only accepting e-vouchers from referral agencies
- An increase of over 30 new referral agencies during this pandemic
- Pre-packing food parcels in an additional warehouse (thanks to landlords SEGRO) to speed up distribution to clients
- Home deliveries to those in food poverty who are isolating and shielding
We have also had to introduce robust procedures at our Distribution Centres including:
- Temperature checks
- Hand gel
- Face coverings
- Social Distancing of 2 meters
- Track and trace recording
- Disinfectant cleaning of chairs and other high touch surfaces
Slough Foodbank Manager, Sue Sibany-King commented:
We are proud to have served Slough for 10 years and would like to thank all our volunteers and the generous communities who have, for those 10 years, so faithfully supported our work to reach those in food poverty. However, this anniversary is not something we are celebrating. Foodbanks are here to support families in crisis – it is not a long-term solution, we need to see the government put a long-term solution in place.
November 2020 saw a 43% increase, versus November 2019 and a 62% increase in children needing food. I believe these shocking statistics are the result of years of austerity, static incomes and cuts creating difficulties for many households even before the added issues that came with Covid-19. Now furlough schemes, job losses and ill health are compounding the problems faced by so many who have been barely keeping their heads above water for so long. 62% more children reflects the increase in families who are struggling.
We must make sure the most vulnerable in our society get what they need – food and water, shelter and security. As the 6th richest country we should be providing for those who are in poverty. There shouldn’t be a need for free school meals to ensure that our children get a good wholesome meal a day. We shouldn’t be depending on charities to feed families. A fairer system, allowing a more equal playing field, would allow all UK citizens to thrive. We need to see a redistribution of the country’s wealth so that everyone gets their fare share.
10 years in review
2010: Slough Foodbank started in a cupboard in Slough Baptist Church and a ‘warehouse’ in a garage around the corner
2012 onwards: Segro provides the warehouse free of charge
2015: Cippenham Distribution Centre opens
2016: Current Langley Distribution centre opens and Fuelbank launched – providing pre-paid gas or electricity for our clients who are unable to cook the food we provide, or heat their homes
2020: New distribution centre opens in Britwell
See our Awards over the years.
See press coverage from when we opened in 2010:
To end we’ve included a poem written by a Foodbank Volunteer
Food we take for granted
Till all the food is gone.
You never see the bountiful –
Only when there’s none.
The generosity of others
To give when there is need,
Helps us to help the vulnerable
When there are mouths to feed.
We try to give more than food
A cup of tea is a start.
Then an ear to hear your pain
Kindness to warm your heart.
We all have times of struggle
And it’s nice to know we’re there
To help you in your hour of need.
At the Foodbank we care