With the nation basking in the success of the England football team at the World Cup, I am delighted to be able to share some really good news here in Swindon which I have been involved with as the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance.

As of last Monday, not-for-profit organisation Swindon Food Collective Ltd took over the operations of what was Swindon Foodbank, ensuring the continuation of a vital service which provides food to local families in crisis.

This is fantastic news and I am particularly pleased as it has been made possible thanks to funding provided by the Council which will keep the food bank running for the next 12 months.

The Council has agreed to provide £51,027 from its Emergency Assistance Fund to allow the food bank to continue operating on an interim basis.

Swindon Food Collective has begun the process of obtaining charitable status, but registration is likely to take several months.

Once this is complete, the new charity will be able to obtain the necessary funding to become self-sufficient in the long term. In the meantime, to celebrate the Swindon Food Collective taking over the service and to thank all the volunteers, a special launch party will take place next Wednesday.

The future of the foodbank had been in doubt after Swindon Christian Community Projects, which started the foodbank 12 years ago, encountered governance issues resulting in the Trussell Trust de-franchising the Swindon Foodbank.

Last year, Swindon Foodbank provided food for more than 5,000 local people, 40 per cent of which were children.

The service typically helps families on low wages, often in receipt of benefits, or those people facing an emergency which creates food poverty.

More than 50,000 kilos of donated food is distributed every year with 16 tonnes alone donated during the traditional Harvest period between September and November.

Food is distributed five days a week, Monday to Friday, from five different locations. The busiest foodbank delivery point is St Aldhelm’s Chapel, in the town centre.

The food bank is quite simply a lifeline to people who find themselves in crisis.

The Council already provides a number of services to help those in need, but I felt it was important to provide this transition funding to keep the foodbank going until the Swindon Food Collective can obtain its charity status and begin operating the service on a sustainable footing.

I would like to thank all the volunteers who contribute so much to the Swindon Foodbank and to encourage all the generous people who donate food to the scheme to keep on giving.