Fighting for a future without foodbanks!
West Cheshire Foodbank is a project founded in 2012 by local churches and community groups, working together towards curtailing hunger in our local area. It reaches out to people experiencing crisis and food poverty caused by unjust social and economic policies, by providing 3 days of nutritional balanced food support – our support is not intended to become embedded, rather to be a temporary stop gap whilst further help is sought.
Anyone needing help speaks to one of our trained professional referrers (from local authority staff to social workers, from Housing support officers to school teachers) who will assess the need and issue on online code which can be used for food at one of our sessions.
Most food distributed is donated via drop off points at supermarkets, Churches, Schools and businesses although increasingly we are having to purchase food to keep up with demand, supported by generous financial donations from local people and organisations.
We have centres covering the Western part of Cheshire West and Chester Council area providing help.
We could not operate without 100+ wonderful people who give up their valuable time.
We, like over 1000 other Foodbanks in the UK, are affiliated to the Trussell Trust, although we are a charity in our own right and need to raise funds to pay for our warehouse operation in Ellesmere Port and our van which supports our ongoing work
However, we are a campaigning, as well as a helping, organisation. We are part of a movement of people committed to a flourishing society, where the scandal of hunger alongside affluence is ended and the need for Foodbanks is diminished and we work closely with other organisations to achieve progress.
Our strategy is therefore to press for policy change rather than to perpetuate the need for foodbanks. We were fortunate in receiving a Big Lottery grant in 2018 to enable us to pilot a transition of our existing centres into ‘Meeting Places’ where, in addition to receiving emergency food supplies, our visitors can receive advice from such agencies as Citizens’ Advice in an effort to get to the underlying reasons for the need to turn to a foodbank for help and avoid the need to return.
In the Covid pandemic, our operations had to be reconfigured and we are responding to changed societal conditions on a day-to-day basis.
March 2022 – we are slowly reopening our centres to collection only basis which gives us the opportunity to engage with those needing our help in order to signpost to areas of further support, thus hopefully ensuring that those coming to us for help do not need to return. Thanks to a number of neighbourhood support centres springing up on the last 2 years we now operate from 16 session centres manned by local volunteers.
We are proud to be one of a handful of Foodbanks working in partnership with Trussell in a Pathfinder project to drive forward the desired change.