Spotlight on Bath Foodbank

Part of a national network of food banks seeded by the Trussell Trust, Bath Foodbank (one of Genesis’ 10 interlinking projects) provides three-day emergency food parcels to people in crisis. It consists of three distribution centres and a warehouse facility. The main distribution centre is located in Manvers Street, open 12-2pm Monday-Friday.

The Foodbank is open to individuals and families who are referred by local agencies – e.g. housing associations, Citizens Advice Bureau, the B&NES ‘One Stop Shop’, job centres etc.

As this is crisis intervention, the recommendation is that not more than 3 vouchers are issued to any individual in a 6-month period. However, this is a guiding principle rather than a rigid rule, meaning that some flexibility is necessary on a case by case basis.

We spoke with Tim Harris, Chair of the Bath Foodbank Management Committee, about recent developments at the Bath Foodbank.

“One of the challenges we face is ensuring a consistent supply of food throughout the year. We tend to get more donations at key times in the calendar – such as Harvest and Christmas – but the supply is lower during the first 8 months of the year”.

More than Food

But food banks are not just about food. Indeed, the Trussell Trust has recently promoted a more rounded approach to poverty through its ‘More than Food’ campaign.

At the local level, this has seen the development of a school holiday scheme during the summer holidays. This can be a financially difficult time for families on low incomes due to the lack of free school meals.

Starting in 2017 as a pilot project with 6 primary schools taking part, the scheme assists families with food parcels during the summer holiday. The project freed income to allow families to use money on other essentials such as school shoes, or on a family ‘treat’ – perhaps a family outing.

Tim hopes to run the project again this year, but due to limited resources it remains limited to primary schools (not secondary).

How to Help

Tim highlights three ways you can help the Bath Foodbank.

  • Donate food – many local supermarkets have food donation points at the checkouts.
  • Donate money – remember to specify donations to ‘Bath Foodbank’ if giving money through Genesis.
  • Donate time – volunteers are the driving force behind food banks.

If you’d like to learn more about Bath Foodbank, please visit the website or read the latest annual report.

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