Bamber Bridge foodbank to move into a shipping container in the grounds of a local church

A foodbank in Bamber Bridge is set to shift its operations into a shipping container in the town.

Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 6:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 8:20 pm

The Brownedge Christians Together Foodbank has been granted planning permission to install the unit in the grounds of St. Aidan’s Church on Station Road, one of the five local places of worship involved with the charity. Donated goods are currently distributed from that building and nearby Brownedge St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

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Joan Glynn, the organisation’s secretary, told the Lancashire Post that while the additional space that will come with the new premises will be welcome, the reasons for the expansion are more fundamental.

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Joan Glynn hopes that the newly-expanded foodbank will offer people the dignity of choice

“I hope it will enhance the nutritional value of what we provide for people because we’re planning to put a fridge and freezer in there. That means we will be able to offer things like meat and cheese, which we can't do now.

“But as well as that, we want to give people more independence. At the moment, the food is put in pre-packed bags - so we do potato, rice and pasta bags and people also get cereals, bread and milk.

“We are proposing that we lay out the shipping container with shelves - and then they can, within limits, make more choices for themselves.

“And it will also enable people to come in and have a cup of coffee and a chat when they collect their food - as they can now at St. Aidan’s - which is very important,” Joan explained.

Space is limited at the existing storeroom for the Brownedge Christians Together Foodbank.

The charity, which was established in 2013, has, like many of its counterparts across Lancashire, noticed a spike in demand since the pandemic - and one which it fears may sharpen as the cost of living crisis really starts to bite.

It now supports 52 families across Bamber Bridge, Clayton-le-Woods, Lostock Hall, and Walton-le-Dale - up from 34 before Covid struck.

Donations are made via the collective of local churches that collaborate in the charitable effort and also at collection points in the Sainsbury's and Morrisons stores in Bamber Bridge.

Joan says that the foodbank is facing the twin challenge of increased demand for its services and the financial pressures being felt by people kind enough to donate.

St. Aidan's Church on Station Road in Bamber Bridge will be home to the foodbank's new shipping container base

“The cost of living is rising for all of us, so if these expenses are going to impact on the average person, it will impact on our donations as well.

“We also get cash donations, which we find very useful, because we can buy specific items. We have spent over £100 just this week on topping up our stock - and that is becoming an almost weekly event,” Joan explained.

While the charity always welcomes supplies in whatever form they come, its most pressing pressure at the moment is the need to expand its committed band of 17 volunteers - with drivers, shoppers, storeroom organisers, bag-packers and secretarial support all required.

South Ribble Borough Council's planning committee unanimously approved the placement of the shipping container, which will be sited on a grassed area to the rear of St. Aidan's Church and next to the church hall.

Joan Glynn says that having access to a fridge and freezer will improve the nutritional value of the food that can be provided to people in need

There were no public objections to the plans for the unit, which will be painted a dark green colour and stand 2.5 metres tall, with a depth of 12 metres and a width of 2.4 metres.

Committee member and the council’s cabinet member for planning, James Flannery, said that it was “sad to see” that additional space for foodbanks was needed in 2022.

Permission for the container was granted for three years in order to allow the council to assess the impact of the building on the visual appearance of the area “after [an] appropriate period of time”, the committee was told.

HOW TO HELP AND GET HELP

Contact: 07762905978

Visit: - St. Aidan's Church, Station Road - Mondays 9:30-11.30am, where a warm drink is also available (except Easter Monday, when the weekly opening hours will move to Tuesday 19th)

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Brownedge Lane - Fridays 10-11am

Referrals for help can be made via organisations including Citizens Advice, but the charity also accepts self-referrals. It also delivers to those who are unable to collect goods in person.