Brent Foodbank enters a new era, with a refurbished space and anti-poverty projects launched, at a new location in Willesden.
“I am so much happier – I cried tears of joy at the foodbank. I had no hope… I was so desperate and they were there for me”
February 12, 2016 saw the relaunch of Brent Foodbank, which has now moved into its first permanent home.
The foodbank, which helped 1542 people in 2015, used to share space with a church but has now been granted a 7 year lease from Brent Council for a space in St Mary’s Church, Willesden, on Neasden Lane. The Trussell Trust funded the refurbishment of the derelict building.
The new space allows Brent Foodbank to introduce a variety of More than Food services aimed at tackling the root causes of a person’s crisis and reason for visiting a foodbank. Initially pilots will run offering debt advice and legal surgeries, full details of which will be announced later in the year. New services planned include an Eat Well Spend Less course, helping people to cook nutritious food on a budget.
More Than Food is an initiative run by Trussell Trust foodbanks to help address the wider issues that cause hunger. These projects aim to help people resolve their crisis quicker. Early indications show that when people are helped to tackle the root cause of their foodbank referral, they are less likely to need to access a foodbank in future.
Brent Foodbank manager, Michele Lawerence said: “We’re really grateful for the investment from the Trussell Trust and the help of Brent Council, which will ensure the need in the community is met.
“Life is very difficult for many people in Brent and a permanent building means we can better raise awareness of where the foodbank is located amongst vulnerable groups helped by other agencies in the borough.
“Our new space, with a donated kitchen, a new café area, and showers, means that we can do even more to help – like running cookery and money management courses, and providing debt advice.”
Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, David McAuley, who attended the launch, said, “We’re really pleased Brent Foodbank now has its own, permanent, premises.
“The Trussell Trust have invested in the foodbank as a pilot centre for a range of new projects designed to help people to break out of crisis faster. Our pilot projects show real promise in reducing re-referral to the foodbank and we look forward to starting these in Brent.”
Alice (name changed), a client of the foodbank, said “The foodbank gave me everything my baby needed. I hadn’t been able to change her nappy for two days, I just couldn’t afford to buy new ones. But the foodbank not only gave me food for us both, but also had fresh nappies and nappy cream.
“I am so much happier – I cried tears of joy at the foodbank. I had no hope… I was so desperate and they were there for me.”
Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central said: “I’m very pleased that Brent foodbank has found a permanent home. The dedication of Michele the project manager and her volunteers is admirable and I continue to be shocked by the hardship and hunger experienced by the people they help.
“Foodbanks do an incredible job and if we are ever to tackle hunger and poverty in the UK we urgently need more action from Government to help tackle the causes of crises that lead to people being unable to eat.”
Notes to Editor:
How Trussell Trust foodbanks work:
- Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis in the UK. We also signpost people to other agencies and services able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis. As part of the charity’s More Than Food approach, many foodbanks also host additional services like debt/financial advice, holiday lunch and breakfast clubs. Read more on our new debt and money advice service in partnership with Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
- Everyone who comes to a Trussell Trust foodbank is referred by a professional such as a social worker, health visitor or schools liaison officer. Over 30,000 frontline professionals refer people to Trussell Trust foodbanks, and 50 percent are statutory agencies.
- Over 90 percent of food given out by Trussell Trust foodbanks is donated by the public. From April – September 2015: 4,158 tonnes of food was given out to people in crisis.
- The Trussell Trust is a charity motivated by Christian principles that runs the biggest network of foodbanks in the UK. For more on The Trussell Trust visit www.trusselltrust.org