Last night our amazing volunteer team was awarded a Wandsworth Civic Award for being ‘a group who have gone above and beyond to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic’.
We couldn’t agree more, and we’re so delighted our team of more than 250 volunteers have been recognised in this way. Dan (Foodbank Manager), Elle (Volunteers Manager), Val, Robin, Hannah and Nikki (picture above) were honoured to receive the award on behalf of all our wonderful volunteers.
During the first 18 months of the pandemic, our team of volunteers delivered 16,000 emergency food supplies to people’s doorsteps across Wandsworth borough – 4 in 10 of which were for children. Despite seeing record numbers of people and families referred to us in severe hardship – double the number of the previous year – the dedication and exceptional kindness of our volunteers meant we were rapidly able to help each person referred to us.
You can watch our team at St Mark’s Battersea in action recently in this short film, made for the award ceremony. St Mark’s is one of seven food bank welcome centres across Wandsworth Borough, run by local churches with and for our community – and this award is for everyone.
As well as emergency food, our volunteers signposted people and families to further help , including urgent referral to our Foodbank Advice Project in partnership with Citizens Advice Wandsworth. During 2020-21, our food bank advisers provided expert advice and casework to more than 500 people who’d needed to use our Foodbank; helping them resolve many of the difficulties causing hardship and poverty.
These are just a few comments from our food bank guests, and food bank referrers, that shows the difference the love, kindness and commitment of our volunteers makes to local people in very difficult times:
- ‘The Foodbank has always provided a great service, and even with the constraints and hardships during Covid-19, the Foodbank thought outside the box and found solutions to ensure my clients did not fall into food poverty. A great, reliable, dedicated and courageous service.’
- ‘The Foodbank team is amazing – full of empathy and warmth. They don’t judge, and they provide support beyond food. They refer on for further advice and support to address core reasons for poverty.’
- ‘The volunteers have gone above and beyond by delivering to people throughout the pandemic. They’re compassionate, non-judgmental and caring people.’
- ‘The food was delivered very quickly, and the families we work with were very happy and relieved to get the support. All the staff and volunteers I’ve been in touch with were very professional, kind and helpful. It’s been a brilliant service all round.’
- ‘If I could, I’d give it more than 5 stars. I’ve seen smiles on my children’s faces after I received help from the Foodbank, and for a mum, that’s the most precious thing in the world – seeing her kids happy. Whenever I asked the Foodbank about my specific needs, they took care of that. It made me feel like my voice is heard, that I’m valued as a human and someone is there to help me and my children.’
- ‘They always deliver in time and the volunteers who deliver the food are very friendly. They were the first people I have seen for ages as I have been alone, and they are smiling and asking me how I am. I am getting my strength back every day – it is getting better and better.’
We’re grateful to Wandsworth Council for recognising our volunteers and our work in this way – and we look forward to continuing to work with the Council to develop policies and provision that will reduce and then end poverty and the need for food banks like ours.