A New Beginning
When Foodbank closed, it created a difficult situation. The seven distribution centres were unable to distribute food to the hundreds of people who use them every month. Clare Collier stepped in with and formed a new company called “The Swindon Food Collective”. Swindon Borough Council gave them grants sufficient to cover the purchase of the old Foodbank vans. It also allowed them to pay the rent.
The Collective it has taken off. In December it fed no less than 702 people who had been referred to them from 90 different places, like schools or doctor’s surgeries.
Clients may have three food packages in any six month period. As Clare puts it, “This is crisis point stuff.” It is not just about providing sustenance. Individuals are welcomed and, on arrival, given tea and cake. Going to a Foodbank is not an easy thing to do.
These run at £35,000 per year. There has been no transfer of funds from the Foodbank so it was very much a case of starting all over again. There have been a number of new initiatives. Hampers were provided at Christmas containing Christmas puddings and chocolates. The net of volunteers has been widened. People from local offices and businesses help. The Youth Offending Team has also played a part and some have continued to volunteer after their obligatory time is up.
There will be a new membership scheme from 1st April.
Clare has a welcome approach to transparency. “We are happy to share our financial position with anyone”. PCC will need to decide whether to support this new organisation. We need to state that it does not have a specifically Christian basis. FF&G discussed it this week. Your PCC members will be glad to hear your views.