A FOODBANK that had to close at the start of lockdown because most of its volunteers were elderly has moved across the road and re-opened with a new team.

The service, which supports around 18 families, was based in St Mary's Church in Cheney Manor Road.

But now it has been shifted to the church hall where there is more storage space and it is easier for people to access under current Covid restrictions. And more volunteers have been recruited.

Rector Nick Lines said: “We’re back in action. St Mary’s distribution used to have an enormous number come every week, around 18 families. But as many of our volunteers were elderly almost all the team were required to shield or didn’t want to carry on doing it through fear of catching the disease, so we didn’t have the staff to continue running. We have new volunteers as some still can’t come back.

“We want people to know there is still a centre here like before. Rather than people having to travel into town or go to Royal Wootton Bassett with restrictions on buses.

Churchwarden Des O’Hara said: “We had to think of the best way of working around Covid. We acquired more storage and are now in the Church Hall across the road so we will work from here for the foreseeable future.

“I think people feel a bit wary or embarrassed coming to a food bank because it’s stigmatised. But you’re not a failure, you’re just trying to support your family so we don’t judge people.

“I have used a food bank in the past so I know what it’s like. We’re just trying to help people who are falling on hard times. We’re all human, so we’re all trying to do our best.

He explained: “We want people to know where we’re to give them the food. Perhaps we will look at doing something more on the social side along with this in the future but for now it’s getting out the food.”

The scheme has been aided by the food cooperative in Swindon which is responsible for packing and distributing food boxes.

Manager Sarah Evans said: “We have had lots of support from the team and the food cooperative have been a great help to us.

The amount of people we have using the service varies from time to time but there has been an increase because of people losing their jobs.”

Families must be referred to the scheme by organisations like local authorities, GP surgeries or charities.