After six years of having a warehouse in the town, Keynsham Foodbank is having to leave town and move to Longwell Green at a time of great need.
Since opening distribution centres in 2013 the foodbank has been hosted by Broadlands Academy for warehousing in a redundant classroom at no cost to the foodbank.
However, due initially to a significant increase in demand for services against safeguarding requirements at the school limiting access times, and now more recently the closure of the school because of the coronavirus, the managers of the foodbank have been seeking new premises in the town but nothing has been available.
Foodbank chairman and coordinator Alan Hale said: “We are extremely grateful to Broadlands for the support that they have provided for us since 2013 but the pressures upon us now dictate that we need a more flexible and accessible warehouse unit that will ease the working practices of the team.
“We would love to find something in town for many reasons, not least in the interests of the volunteers and also to save them journey times, but as yet we have been unsuccessful. So in the meantime we have had to rent storage accommodation at Lok’nStore in Longwell Green. This of course is now putting significant pressure on our financial position.”
The team have been put under extra pressure with the attendance at foodbank increasing significantly due to the coronavirus. Last week they fed over 100 people.
As certain businesses are closing down for the duration of the virus they have been offering food to the foodbank, including Priston Mill due to a cancelled wedding. Keynsham Rotary Club decided to donate their dinner meeting costs to the foodbank as the venue had to shut. Other members of the community have also given individual cash donations.
Mr Hale added: “The local community has been great and many volunteers have come forward as some of our regular volunteers felt they had to step back because of their age in relation to the virus. We are hopeful that our move out of town will only be for a short period and that something will become available in Keynsham.
“Should any businesses or benefactors feel they can offer us accommodation in Keynsham, or are willing to help with sponsorship of our current accommodation to some degree, we would love to hear from them. In the meantime, I would urge our generous community in Keynsham and Saltford to continue to donate food via the drop boxes at Tesco and Waitrose because there are so many in food crisis at the moment.”
Last week it was revealed that people had been taking items from the drop box at Tesco.
Mr Hale said: “What is wrong with people? It is bad enough that people are stockpiling food and depriving others of the opportunity to shop normally but to hear that people are stealing from the foodbank donation box is unbelievable.”
The box has since been moved inside behind the customer services counter.
The foodbank can be contacted on 0117 9837923 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can be made via bank transfer to 60-12-11 account 26641860.
The foodbank needs a secure unit of at least 700sq ft.