Monday 26th November at our Club Meeting we had an interesting talk from Emma Murray the manager for Bristol North West Foodbank.
Emma spoke about the wonderful work the Foodbank carries out for people who need support in the community and how the system of referral works. She also spoke about how they are expanding the services to a Homebank service which includes the provision of white goods, kitchen utensils, blankets, towels and various other goods for those who have nothing or very little.
By March 2011 they had given out 33980 “support packages”. The need is increasing year on year for example there was a 28% increase last year and 24% increase this year. Food is donated, sorted, packed and distributed from 4 pickup points. Clients arrive with a referral letter from one of the 180 referral agencies that the food bank works with. Clients can be referred up to 3 times and then the system flags this frequency up as an alert and then the problem is explored further eg debt, domestic abuse, family breakdown etc.
Emma gave some interesting figures showing that 400 people from Clifton and many more from Stoke Bishop are included in the numbers. Emma read out letters from clients saying why they needed help. The Foodbank has recently moved to lovely facilities and have branched out and provide other things such as white goods and also provide other support for people in need including a Social Justice Hub.
We were very impressed with the work and support they provide.