MONEY might soon eclipse food as Swindon Foodbank’s biggest need in the coming weeks, as Andrew Hill draws up a plan of attack for the harvest festival season.
The project manager has been in his new post two months today and after recently pulling together a report for the organisation’s annual meeting next month, he has established a pressing need for financial donations.
With food stocks bursting at the seams and a run of harvest festivals on the horizon, which last year generated more than 17 tonnes of food, Andrew has taken sharper interest in the money required to keep Foodbank afloat.
In the report he will present at the AGM, he has established 6,500 people were fed by the foodbank in the past 12 months, with 6,500 man-hours required and £65,000 needed.
He said: “We will soon have people coming forward and asking what the best way is to donate to a harvest festival and we would always suggest looking at a local school or church.
“Although, instead of food, we might look at promoting donations on a financial basis moving forward.
“From starting with nothing, we are well-looked after when it comes to food donations now, but what people don’t think about is the fact we have got a warehouse, a van, a project manager and two part-time staff. They don’t seem to wonder how much that costs.
“People always try and remember to buy extra items from the supermarket for us when they are shopping, but something like a monthly standing order for £5 or £10 takes that pressure off them to keep remembering if they have donated.”
Andrew has been without an assistant project manager since he took up the top position at the foodbank, and as a result he has struggled to find time to put into place some of his longer-term visions for the charity.
“I haven’t had any surprises since I came in, thankfully,” he said. “I had been the assistant for some time before, so I was already aware of many things, but not having my own assistant has been difficult.
“I have been out and about in the van myself, which puts a limit on what I can do in the office.”
Interviews are due to be held next week for candidates looking to take on the assistant role at the charity.
Another development has come in the shape of a new boxing system brought in by GWP Packaging at Cricklade. Andrew has been working with the company to develop flat-pack boxes which can be shipped out to schools during the harvest festival season, which can then be stacked up ready for the foodbank van to arrive to take them away.
This new process will save time on foodbank staff having to repack and reorganise each box of food per school.