A city foodbank charity which fed 35,000 people last year has been given a funding boost by a local housebuilder.
Coventry Foodbank, which has the largest foodbank warehouse in the country and gave out 280 tons of food last year, has been given £500 by Bellway’s South Midlands division, which has its regional headquarters in the city.
The foodbank, which was set up 10 years ago, is based at the Halo Centre in Progress Way. It provides a box of three days’ worth of food supplies and toiletries to people who are given food vouchers by a range of agencies including the city council, the NHS and Citizens Advice.
Hugh McNeill, project manager at Coventry Foodbank, said: “We are funded by public donations which provide us with the financing to ensure we can carry on providing food at our 12 foodbank centres in the city.
“This very generous donation from Bellway will give us a much-welcome boost after a very hard time for everyone. The public have continued to support us incredibly well during the pandemic but things have been tough.
“In 2019, we fed 28,000 people and last year we fed 35,000 people. Of that number, approximately 14,000 will be children under the age of 16.
“In the first few weeks of the pandemic, with people being furloughed and laid off, we saw a 100 per cent increase in people accessing our foodbanks. That demand eased off but we have been busier than ever.
“We will use the £500 to support our commercial kitchen project. We are setting up a kitchen in the warehouse so that we can train people with catering skills.
“While we train the people they will be making ready meals or soup for use at the foodbank. The idea is to furnish them with skills that can be used to help them gain employment.
“We very much see this sort of training programme, which will also include any tutoring people may need to gain maths or English skills, as the future role of foodbanks.
“Our ethos is that this foodbank should be a hand-up not a hand-out and the money from Bellway will help us provide that.”
Elaine Brown, Head of Sales at Bellway South Midlands, said: “The pandemic lockdown must have put an incredible strain on charities such as the Coventry Foodbank for many reasons.
“This is a brilliant charity that is funded by public donations which allow it to carry on its work and can literally be life-saving. Their food boxes help put food on the tables of thousands and thousands of men, women and children in Coventry every year.
“We are always pleased to support local charities who do such good work to support people and families and there is no doubt that Coventry Foodbank is at the forefront of reaching out and providing immediate and much-needed assistance and support to the local community.”
For more information about the charity visit coventry.foodbank.org.uk.
Bellway’s South Midlands division is currently based at Oak House, Binley Business Park, having recently relocated to new larger premises in the city.
The housebuilder is also building new homes at developments in Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire.
For more information about any of the developments visit bellway.co.uk.
- Jeané Izautenbach (left) from the Halo Centre, Coventry with Jess Bray (right) of Bellway South Midlands