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End of furlough will herald a greater demand for foodbanks

End of furlough will herald a greater demand for foodbanks

Rotary4foodbanks is an initiative which is playing a huge part supporting the vulnerable during COVID-19. But as the evenings draw in, we are being warned that demand is likely to grow.

A Nottinghamshire foodbank has kept up with demand for food during the COVID-19 crisis, but its volunteer manager, former policeman Keith Hadfield, has warned that much worse is likely to come as winter approaches.

A new lifeline of supplies from Rotary4foodbanks is playing a vital role in helping to build stocks for the tsunami of demand for the foodbank. But Keith expects that more help will be needed in the coming months.

Despite closing its St Peter’s Church satellite outlet as the pandemic struck, the Sherwood Forest Foodbank has supplied over 1250kgs of food since April this year from its main base at The Stable Centre in Mansfield Woodhouse.

Kieth, manager of Mansfield Woodhouse Foodbank

“Over the summer we have been less busy than expected,” said Keith.

“During lockdown there has been all kinds of additional support for people.

“I am certain that once the furlough system ends and some of the pop-up support organisations wind down, we will see a different picture of hardship.  Need will rise and support will fall.  We will be hard-pressed to cope with what we fear will be a tsunami of demand.”

It is a fear shared by the Trussell Trust of which the foodbank is a part.

Keith had planned to step down from his role as project manager of the Sherwood Forest foodbank, but the arrival of the pandemic put paid to that.

He joined as a volunteer in 2013 and has headed the team of volunteers since 2017.
With many of the team aged over 70 and needing to shield, managing the demand from a growing number of hungry families in the region has proved an extra challenge.

I am certain that once the furlough system ends and some of the pop-up support organisations wind down, we will see a different picture of hardship.”

“Mansfield District and their Housing Team have been incredibly supportive but there is a limit to what they can do.

“We rely on the generosity of supermarkets and donations from local people to keep us going.  Local rotary clubs have always been supportive, but the new impetus from Rotary4foodbanks is proving a real boost.”

Rotary4foodbanks is an East Midlands and South Yorkshire initiative set up earlier this year in response to the pandemic.

Pooling funds from Rotary clubs and money raised via its JustGiving page, the scheme buys food in bulk at wholesale prices.

With the help of local transport firm, Taylors, it distributes vital stock to around 50 foodbanks in the area.

Its second delivery to Sherwood Forest Foodbank recently was part of a programme which has seen £100,000 worth of food delivered across the region since April.

We rely on the generosity of supermarkets and donations from local people to keep us going.  Local rotary clubs have always been supportive, but the new impetus from Rotary4foodbanks is proving a real boost.”

Keith, a passionate road biker and family man who has lived in Mansfield Woodhouse for 45 years, is keen to hear from others with the experience and time to help him run the foodbank.

“I’ve been trying to set up a system with processes in place to make managing the operation relatively straightforward,” he added.

“At 66, I am keen to find others to share the load as the pressure inevitably increases with the approach of winter.

“As well as having more time to play my guitar, sing in the choir and ride my road bike, it is the classic situation – I would really like to spend more time with my family!”