Food bank organisation hosts first community BBQ in Ashton

Families who were provided a lifeline during the pandemic by the Here for Humanity group were among those invited to their first community BBQ during the May Bank Holiday Weekend.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 3:45 pm

Families from Ashton were able to come together for the first time since the start of the pandemic and enjoy an outdoor BBQ over the weekend.

The Here for Humanity CIC organisation, which was first set up at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak to support struggling with buying food, hosted the socially-distanced gathering for more than 50 people in Ashton-on-Ribble.

It comes as it prepares to celebrate its official one-year anniversary as a CIC (Community interest company), as local people were invited to the organisation's new permanent premises for a cookout in the sun on Saturday, May 29.

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Group founder Chris Murray is now hoping to continue hosting BBQ's at different community centres in areas around Preston, including Tanterton and Plungington throughout this summer, with lockdown restrictions set to ease later this month.

He said: "The first BBQ went extremely well. We are hoping to start planning to host them in different places around Preston now that we have the equipment and the resources.

"It is a great chance for communities to get together and benefit from our services. It has been a few months in the planning, as we were first hoping to run them last Summer after a difficult lockdown and people were really looking forward to it.

"But after another lockdown was introduced, we had to put the plans on hold. Everyone has been so disheartened over the last year, and we want people to know we are still here providing for the community through difficult times."

The community BBQ was hosted at their new Eldon Street premises

The BBQ was open to any members of the group on their social media group and those families who had relied on their food banks throughout the past year.

Volunteers were able to open their new premises on Eldon Street thanks to a £10,000 grant they were gifted by the National Lottery Community Fund last month, which is being brought into use a foodbank and new community centre.

Chris added: "We always wanted to be an act of kindness, and the pandemic made us realise how easy it is to do something to support your local community.

"The BBQ was amazing - everyone was staying sat down and socially distanced but were laughing and enjoying the sun whilst meeting and talking to new people.

Families were able to meet one another safely outdoors for the first time since the pandemic

"After such a long time in lockdown it was a good way to raise more awareness about our work and speak to the community. We started out as a few tins but we are now having to manage resources in the tens of thousands and are still growing."

The organisation, which is set to apply for charity status later this year, is now appealing for volunteers from Preston to give up some of their time to manage the digital profile of the organisation.

Get in touch at their Facebook page.

Chris hopes to host community BBQs throughout centres in Preston in summer, to bring people together