Hello and welcome to the October 2021 Swindon Food Collective Newsletter.
For the first 6 months of the financial year (1st April to 30th September) we have received IRO 32 tonnes of donated food from stores and community groups and we distributed almost 43 tonnes through our distribution centres and to other projects such as The Harbour, Foyer, Bags of Hope, Grow Baby, Homeless Hostels, Home from Hospital Bags, SBC Emergency Team and Swindon Caring Hearts to name but a few. During the last three weeks of the school holidays we were asked to feed the families who were part of a summer holiday activity project for vulnerable children. We fed 100 families each week utilising over 4.2 tonnes of food and toiletries. This meant that combined with our normal referrals we fed 1,097 people, in August alone with 39.2% of those being children.
We’ve also been very fortunate with fundraising with grants from Wiltshire County Council, Wiltshire Community Foundation, The One Stop Shop Community,Tesco Groundworks and the SSJP Financial Management Company alongside churches opening up and PCC’s and congregations sending in their donations too. We also have a few charity choral fundraising evenings lined up with supporters such as Rotary, Wessex Male Choir and the Kentwood Choir.
Looking forward we are now having to make plans for several aspects of our operations. We will be leasing extra storage space as Harvest is now upon us and the stock we have stored elsewhere earlier this year is due back to us imminently. We have had a few new volunteers joining our different teams over the past few weeks so we welcome them to the SFC family . We will also be reorganising rotas and the work of staff and trustees to ensure all aspects of operations are covered during expected staff absences by reintroducing a Wednesday warehouse shift to help manage the extra donations from harvest and the run up to Christmas.
We have a few corporate teams coming in to the warehouse to help sort the donations and so on we will be preparing the Christmas Hampers ready for distribution from about the 15th December. We have opened two new distribution centres on a trial basis dependent on need. These are being hosted at the Pinetrees Library on Tuesdays between 12 and 2pm and by volunteers from St Michael’s Church, Lyneham on Wednesdays between 1pm and 3pm. Numbers of referrals fluctuate each week and it is hoped that soon referring agencies will send more people to these centres for support. Other areas that are being also considered to host a distribution centre include Abbey Meads, Covingham and Eldene . Recently we have also had some positive press articles which are hopefully encouraging people to come forward for food.
Cher Smith, Manager