Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the The Duchess of Cornwall last week paid tribute to the vital work of our food bank in supporting people in crisis throughout the pandemic, during a visit to one of our welcome centres.
The royal couple met volunteers, support staff and church leaders from our food bank and were shown some of the emergency food parcels that are given out twice a week from our welcome centre and HQ at St Mark’s Church, Battersea – one of seven centres across Wandsworth Borough. You can watch a short video of the visit here.
The Prince and The Duchess spoke to members of the food bank’s welcome team who meet and greet people who need support. They also met members of its Foodbank Advice Project who offer practical advice to help people out of crisis, in partnership with Citizens Advice Wandsworth. They also had private conversations with a family and individual who have needed to use our food bank, and we’re so grateful to these guests for generously and powerfully sharing their stories.
Our food bank manager Dan Frith said: “We are honoured that Their Royal Highnesses came to visit the food bank to learn first-hand about the work that we are doing to support the local community here in Wandsworth.
“They were particularly interested in the range of services we provide and the practical support we offer to help local people in severe hardship out of crisis, so that people have enough income to be able to afford essential costs, like food.
“Our volunteers and team have worked tirelessly to get support to individuals and families throughout the pandemic, and we are pleased that their kindness and commitment to compassion and justice has now received this royal recognition.”
Madini Bell, one of our wonderful volunteers, said: “The visit felt like a Christmas treat and was such a special occasion for us all. The royal couple were so lovely to chat to and very interested in learning about the work we do in Wandsworth to support people in crisis. It was nice to have their recognition and the visit has given us all a real boost.”
The Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie said: “We are grateful to Their Royal Highnesses for recognising the incredible contribution of Wandsworth Foodbank to its local community. This winter, too many families will be facing impossible decisions like whether to switch on their heating or use the oven to cook hot food – but we know that it doesn’t have to be like this.
“Volunteers and staff in each of the food banks in our network work tirelessly to offer support to people facing hardship and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise each and every one of them for their hard work and dedication, as we continue to campaign for a future without the need for food banks.”
Last year (2020-21), food banks in the Trussell Trust network distributed over 2.5 million emergency food parcels, with almost a million of these provided for children. During that time, Wandsworth Foodbank provided 11,336 emergency food parcels to people in crisis – 4 in 10 of which were for children. This was twice the level of need compared to the previous year.