During 2013 a number of meetings were held to discuss the setting up of a foodbank in Droylsden. There were other food banks in Tameside but none in our area. After careful consideration it was decided that Droylsden & District foodbank would be set up under the umbrella of the Trussell Trust to provide for those in need in our local community and surrounding area.

Did any of us contemplate that we would still be here 10 years on and be needed as much as ever?

We opened our door for the first time in December 2013. Our warehouse was, and still is, based in a unit in Droylsden precinct. Our distribution centre opened at St Mary’s Church.

Throughout its existence the foodbank has been supported by 6 churches in Droylsden. The churches have provided volunteers as well as food donations. When there has been talk from church leaders of setting up ecumenical projects, I see our foodbank as a shining example of this in action.

For those who do not fully understand how our foodbank works it might be helpful to explain our processes.

            Food donations

            Non-perishable, in-date food is donated by the public at Tesco Droylsden   collection point and national collections, through our churches, schools, individuals and businesses. The donations are then transferred to our warehouse where they are dated, sorted and shelved in type and date order.

            Food vouchers

            Care professionals such as health visitors, staff at schools and social workers identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher. This means people can receive a foodbank parcel of three days’ nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food.

            Food distribution

            At our weekly Friday sessions our volunteers meet at the warehouse and put together parcels for those issued with a foodbank voucher. The amount of food will depend on the size of the family. The clients come to the warehouse to collect their parcels and are also offered any fresh food donated by Tesco that week.

            Additional support

            Our Foodbank has recently partnered with Citizens Advice to support clients who may need help with debt, benefits advice, bereavement or other issues.

Many of our volunteers and Trustees have been with the foodbank since we started and have seen many changes and challenges. Our biggest challenge was during the pandemic when every process changed from personal contact to electronic. Our distribution centre moved to the warehouse because of the volume of stock needed and there it has remained. Ideally, we would like a larger unit where we can store the food and offer a café style facility to offer refreshments and a chat to our visitors.

Since opening our doors we have processed approximately 100,000 kgs of food. We have fulfilled 4,500 vouchers and fed 12,700 people of which 5,850 were children.

So what of the future?

The vision of the Trussell Trust and ourselves, is for a UK without the need for food banks.

Until that vision is realised, we will continue to support those in crisis in our community.

Without the dedication of our volunteers and the steadfast support of our donors we couldn’t be here for those who need us.  You can donate items at the Drioylsden Tesco store or if you want to volunteer please email info@droylsdendistrict.foodbank.co.uk or call 07473 452813

So to everyone who has volunteered, donated, prayed or played their part in supporting Droylsden & District Food Bank- thank you.

We pray that at some time in the not-too-distant future our vision will be fulfilled, and our food bank will not be needed. In the meantime, please continue to support us in any way you can. It is always appreciated.

Pat Catterall

Volunteer project manager