Meet the food bank team supporting families across Oswestry and the borders

As part of the Shropshire Star’s Feed a Family Campaign, we are highlighting the work of food banks across the county and today look at the work of the Oswestry and Borders group and the support it receives from a national charity which helps over 1,000 similar organisations.

Food bank manager Liz Jermy
Food bank manager Liz Jermy

The Oswestry and Borders food bank covers a wide area as the name suggests and throughout their catchment area are 40 churches and 16 schools.

Established in 2011 by members of churches in the area working towards stopping hunger in the area, it has grown to become a large concern in a rural area, with volunteers delivering supplies to those who are in need but who can't access the Oswestry base.

Staff at Oswestry and Borders food bank

During the pandemic, 8,946 people were helped by the food bank and 92 tonnes of food were delivered to people.

Around 45 per cent of food donations comes from supermarkets all over the Oswestry and borders area and the number of donations and standing orders stands at a healthy number - the organisation also receives help from Powys County Council.

But being part of the Trussell Trust is, says manager Liz Jermy, a big support to them, with the trust able to feed back on numbers and figures of people using food banks nationwide and the Oswestry food bank able to access grants and help.

Staff at Oswestry and Borders food bank

The Trussell Trust is a charity which supports more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.

The organisation has calculated more than 14 million people are living in poverty, including 4.5 million children.

Liz said: "We find being part of the network beneficial to us as a large concern which is covering a large area stretching from Oswestry to Ellesmere to over the border in Powys.

"They have a national database which can be used to directly inform the Government about the numbers of people using their network which is pretty extensive and they are always there for help, advice and support.

Oswestry and Borders food bank

"We are seeing an increase in demand for our services, it hasn't really changed since the pandemic but we have a big support network from Powys Council to the Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance and outside agencies like the police, GP surgeries and housing organisations who refer people to us.

"The supply of food coming in and donations coming in is constant and we are grateful for that but without help from outside, our job would be a lot harder."

Oswestry Food Bank operates from 56 Beatrice Street, Oswestry and is open Monday and Thursday 11am to 2pm.

For information on the food bank or referrals to it, go to oswestryandborders.foodbank.org.uk. For information on the Trusell Trust, go to trusselltrust.org.

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