Foodbank Annual Report

Oswestry and Borders Food Bank


By Liz Jermy

A huge thank you to all our supporters from the community – you are immensely valued and appreciated by us!

We thank God for He is good and He has provided for us as we have handed this ministry to Him. We can boast in what He does through this work.

Nationally:       14 million people in this country are affected by poverty, one in five. The face of poverty has changed in the last twenty 20 years -the faces are younger. Previously, we might have been aware of pensioners facing cold winters but we now have more young people and children.

The economy is growing with record numbers in employment but the poverty trap continues to widen. 3.7 million people in this country who work are also in poverty.

Tax credits are falling so fewer top ups are available. The threshold for free school meals has also changed :– it is less easy to receive this benefit.

There is no housing ladder as we knew it before and there is a lack of decent low cost homes available.

Campbell Robb the CEO of Rowntree Foundation even goes as far as to say we have destitution by design in this country: the very folks who should be protecting our vulnerable and struggling folks are debt collecting at source. He calls it shameful. This means that the people who are struggling to pay their council tax and their rent are being handed over to the bailiffs to be dealt with.

The definition of destitution is that a person lacks two or more basic rights in a month – this includes, food, toiletries and clothes. Over 1 million in this country are seriously destitute.

`Locally:-    We have given 1516 people food so far this financial year ( last year it was 1119)

Volunteer Numbers are healthy. We have a great team and have really enjoyed welcoming new volunteers with fantastic experience from a wide field. We currently have a waiting list wanting to join us.

Our emergency fund is used for liaising with support agencies and to help people with:

Fuel-(gas/electric) , Travel (petrol,taxis,bus)- Court Orders/debt/bailiffs

Housing ( B&B, rent deposits), Gifts ( birthdays,essentials for the homeless)

Exciting news:

*We have been given a new kitchen by Howdens and ‘The Mens Shed’ has installed it. Fabulous!

*There has been more interest from businesses wanting to contribute to the charity locally.

*and also more media interest – including from BBC Midlands in the summer.

* Students from Yale 6 th form Coleg Cambria are now volunteering every Monday.

* Chester University is planning for 2 nd year students to help in the summer.

*ASDA have joined the fight against poverty and have pledged £9 million over the next 3 years to be offered as grants to all the Trussell Trust Foodbanks. This means we have been able successfully to apply for a new fridge and filing cabinets. We might also be able to fund the position of project manager so watch this space.

*We have received more than 45 harvest donations totalling nearly 4000kg of food and other items. The churches and schools have been particularly amazing.

*Standing Orders are steadily increasing.

THE JOB CLUB: The foodbank has joined with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to run a weekly job club in the foodbank. The job club receives referrals from Oswestry Job Centre and housing agencies and we are currently on our third job club this year. There are mainly men attending the job club who may have not had jobs for a significant length of time. They are encouraged to volunteer whilst looking to build up their CV’s. The job club is supported and partly funded by ST&R Housing and the volunteers are from the foodbank and Hope Church. The foodbank manager leads the job club – again as a volunteer post. Those coming to the Job Club attend an 8 week course. The foodbank provides a free lunch. The job club has been running since September 2017 and we are relying on increased funds to come in. We are also looking for a couple more volunteers.

THE OSWESTRY AND ELLESMERE DEBT CENTRE: The Debt centre came together from a group of people facilitated originally by the Foodbank manager but has since become its own project supported by Ellesmere Cellar church and Cabin Lane Church in Oswestry. It is also part of CAP (Christians Against Poverty).

We have a debt coach who can visit people in their own homes and lead them on the journey to becoming debt free. The debt centre now has its own bank account and has been operating since January 2018. The debt coach and the befrienders are all volunteers. The numbers of people being helped by the CAP debt centre since opening is steadily growing. The debt coach can help people spanning from Oswestry to Ellesmere with the villages in between. We are looking for a second debt coach as we cover a large area.

Liz Jermy, FoodBank Manager.