Robert Walter MP (North Dorset) paid a visit to Blandford Foodbank on 23 October to meet staff and learn more about issues surrounding foodbank provision.
At the invitation of Blandford Foodbank Steering Group Chairman, The Rev Brook MacCallam, Bob met with Rev MacCallam himself, Alistair Doxet-Purser, Chief Executive Officer of Faithworks Wessex, volunteer Jacquie Dakin and Foodbank Manager Gail del Pinto at Blandford Forum Methodist Church to find out more about the operation of this local foodbank and hear staff views on the challenges surrounding foodbank provision.
The food provided by the Blandford Foodbank is mostly donated by local churches, schools, community groups, businesses and individuals and is free to anyone who presents a voucher.
Foodbank vouchers are held by a wide range of professionals in the community so that those in need can be helped as quickly as possible. Wherever they can, staff also help clients to find more sustainable solutions to their difficulties by working with other organisations to help users access a wider range of support.
The Blandford Foodbank is open on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 10am-12pm and donations can also be delivered to Blandford Forum Methodist Church at these times.
Bob Walter MP commented: “I welcomed the opportunity to meet with Blandford Foodbank staff and explore with them the issues surrounding, and the challenges of, foodbank provision. Foodbanks do provide an incredibly valuable service and I would like to pay tribute to the hardworking volunteers that help to run them.
“People clearly visit foodbanks for a variety of reasons and it is, of course, highly undesirable that anybody should reach the point where their services are required to fill the gap. I was therefore reassured to hear that efforts are always made to direct clients to people in the local community that can help them move through and beyond these periods of crisis to a more sustainable situation.
“Donating items to your local foodbank, much like the National Foodbank Collection I highlighted over the summer, is a quick and simple of giving back to your community, safe in the knowledge that your donation will help someone locally who is in difficulty. Volunteers are always needed too, so anyone wishing to help out should contact BFB Manager, Gail del Pinto.” (01258 456093).