Food clubs, pantries and food banks across Bath and North East Somerset are continuing to provide essential support to residents facing food poverty during lockdown.
Alongside the Community Wellbeing Hub, they are providing a lifeline for hundreds of people who have lost their jobs or seen their income reduced as a result of the pandemic.
Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services and Public Health said: “Another lockdown poses further challenges for many who have lost their jobs or seen their income reduced as a result of the impact of coronavirus.
“No one should have to go hungry or face the prospect of not being able to afford to feed their family.
“Thanks to the fantastic work of the Community Wellbeing Hub, Food Banks, FOOD Clubs and Pantries across Bath and North East Somerset, local food support is readily available for those who need it.”
The food banks in Bath, Keynsham and the Somer Valley provide food to clients in crisis who are referred for emergency support from organisations such as Citizens Advice and Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The food banks are part of the Trussell Trust network and are welcoming new referrals during lockdown.
Keynsham Food Bank Coordinator, Alan Hale, said: “For many people the impact of coronavirus on their job has been delayed by the furlough scheme, but we are now seeing an increase in the number of people being made redundant or who have had their hours cut and seen their income drop.
“We anticipated this and have built up our stock levels to support those in need.
“No one should go hungry while waiting for a benefit payment and we also don’t want people who are suddenly out of work to spend all their savings before they seek support.
“Our message to anyone facing food crisis is that we are here to offer food support and signpost to other help and advice.”
The Somer Valley Food Bank is operating as normal during lockdown, while the Keynsham and Bath Food Banks service is delivery only.
Many of the district’s pantries, set up with funding support from Bath & North East Somerset Council remain open with members on low incomes able to carry out a weekly shop of chilled, fresh and store cupboard food for a fraction of the price of a normal supermarket shop. New members are welcome.
Oasis Pantry in Bath city centre remains open every Thursday, with members now having timed slots.
The Action Pantry run by Mercy in Action on Lower Bristol Road in Bath is now able to deliver if necessary. They are also operating a pop-up pantry ‘Penny’s Pantry’ at the Rhymes Pavilion on Coalpit Road in Batheaston, every Wednesday from 10am – 3pm.
FOOD Clubs (Food On Our Doorstep) in Keynsham, Radstock and Odd Down, run as a partnership programme by charities Family Action, FareShare SW, and Bright Start Children’s Centres and Radstock Library, are also continuing to provide regular and sustainable access to good-quality food at low cost to people at risk of food insecurity.
During lockdown, when the weather permits, the FOOD Clubs are operating outside, under cover of a gazebo and members are being given individual collection times.
Weston & Newbridge FOOD Club located at Weston Hub in Penn Hill Road is open on Mondays between 12 noon and 2pm. New members are welcome.
A number of community cafés are continuing to provide support, such as Temple Street Canteen in Keynsham, which continues to provide free meals for children, and Weston’s Welcome Café at Weston Hub which is still offering a free cooked lunch for residents, but on a takeaway basis for the duration of lockdown.
Southside Family Project’s Food Hub Groups in Foxhill, Twerton, Peasedown and Keynsham are temporarily closed during lockdown, but continue to provide cooked family meals once a week which can either be delivered to clients or collected in person.
Southside Pantries continue to run in Peasedown and Bath.
The Community Wellbeing Hub is also continuing to provide critical support for vulnerable residents who are self-isolating or who have no access to local social support networks and those people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
So far the Hub has delivered over 400 Emergency Food parcels and supported 719 people.
You can contact the Community Wellbeing Hub by:
- Calling 0300 247 0050
- Emailing: [email protected]
- Texting: 07870 868368
Details of FOOD Clubs and Pantries across Bath and North East Somerset are available by visiting: http://banesfoodfinder.org.uk/listing/food-clubs-pantries