Shropshire Star

Caring volunteers help feed and clothe Ellesmere families in need

A food and warm clothes share project has captured the hearts of people in a north Shropshire town.

Dee Hamilton at Ellesmere Food Share

The Ellesmere project not only has a steady flow of donations, of both food and warm clothes for the winter, also has about 40 volunteers who give up their time to help sort out items and open the facilities to the public.

Food Share takes place at the Our Space building next to the doctors' surgery in Ellesmere, open on Tuesdays from 9-11am and 2.30-4.30pm and again on Saturday mornings from 9-11.30am.

Meanwhile, the Clothes Share is based in the rear of the former Fred Roberts shop at The Cross, on Friday and Saturday mornings.

Penelope Harrison helping out

One of those behind the scheme is Ellesmere Mayor, Councillor Anne Wignall.

"When I said a food share was something I wanted to get off the ground during my mayoral year, the town council was contacted by Penny Harrison, from Tetchill, who was very keen to get involved," Councillor Wignall said.

"We approached Our Space and its manager, Rachael Davies, was quick to offer us a spare room at the back of the building and the food share project got off the ground.

Helen Minton, Dee Hamilton and Penelope Harrison at Ellesmere Food Share

"A call for volunteers saw an incredible responsible, with more than 40 volunteers now giving their time. It is fantastic for a small town like Ellesmere. The volunteers are so hardworking and full of ideas."

When the colder weather began it was decided to expand with a clothes share.

"The public has given so many warm clothes, blankets and duvets and Debbie Hayward has let us use the room behind the Rotary Club book sale."

Councillor Wignall said the food share had seen "steady business" and said she was keen to encourage more people to go along.

"We understand that there are pride issues in using food or clothes share but we really don't want people to be embarrassed.

"Anyone using the project is helping to stop food waste and textile waste. And there are donation buckets if anyone wants to make a contribution however big or small but of course they don't have to.

"People can save money and stop food waste. Both the Co-op and Premier Stores give up the end-of-the-day food they would have to throw away otherwise."

The project is open to people from across Ellesmere and the surrounding villages.

Anyone wanting to help can put food into collection bins at Premier Stores and The Co-op, JS Hair, Mere Motors, More than a Sundae, the Tuesday market and Dudleston Post Office.

There are also collection buckets for pet food at Pets Pantry and Blakemere Vets.

"We need those bins filling," the mayor said.

She thanked the organisations and businesses that have helped, including Rotary, Stans Superstore, ABP and individuals.

"Ellesmere Primary School paid a visit before Christmas to bring us some food, it was fantastic and the Parents' Society at Ellesmere College is also supporting us. The community really has come together."

As part of the Clothes Share there will be a clothes jumble at the Comrades Club on February 11 when people can made a donation of their choice - if they feel able - for clothes and bedding.