New depot allows Shrewsbury Food Hub to expand

A Shrewsbury charity which distributes unwanted food from supermarkets to the needy has opened a new depot, allowing it to double the number of people it helps.

Katy Anderson, centre launches the Shrewsbury Food Hub depot, with supporters Sarah Neate of CMUK, Rob Shelley of Shelley Signs, Liz Lowe of Morris Property, and Mayor of Shrewsbury Jane Mackenzie
Katy Anderson, centre launches the Shrewsbury Food Hub depot, with supporters Sarah Neate of CMUK, Rob Shelley of Shelley Signs, Liz Lowe of Morris Property, and Mayor of Shrewsbury Jane Mackenzie

Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Jane MacKenzie, opened The Food Hub's new base at Centurion Business Park.

Last year The Food Hub, which collects surplus food from major food stores across the town, distributed 14 tons of food from various locations, including the Peace Memorial Hall at Meole Brace and a space at the town's Morrison's branch.

However, this year the amount is expected to reach 28 tons, and to continue operating at this level the charity has had to find its own premises.

The hub distributes the food among 32 community groups, including Shrewsbury Food Bank Plus, The Ark, 11 Primary School Breakfast Clubs, Severn Hospice and Age UK Shropshire Telford and Wrekin.

Flashback: Shrewsbury Food Hub in November 2016:

Following a plea to local businesses, Shrewsbury-based property group Morris & Company was able to offer an empty industrial unit, while EasyFlow has fitted a new floor and specialist printing company CMYUK has offered to decorate the building with custom-made wallpaper depicting the work of the charity.

Food Hub co-founder Katy Anderson said: “It’s been so heartwarming to have local businesses come forward and offer so much time and materials for free.

"We literally cannot thank them enough. Having our own unit means that we can double the amount of food we get to the community – that’s enough for more than 66,000 meals."

She added that that new base would be used to train volunteers for similar organisations in other parts of the county.

Joanna Morris, of Morris and Company, said the company was delighted to provide the premises.

"It was an opportunity for Shropshire businesses to work together to support Shrewsbury Food Hub and its invaluable service to the local community,” she said.

The Food Hub had five volunteers when it was launched in April last year, who in the early days would sort the food from trestle tables in the car park at Marks & Spencer.

It now has more than 40 supporters who meet up early in the morning to collect the food from eight different supermarkets. They then sort the items to tailor them to each charity's needs, before delivering them in their own cars.

Katy said that while many thought of Shrewsbury as an affluent town, it suffered pockets of deprivation.

"There are a lot of people who are really struggling and are managing on a tight budget, and food is one of those things they struggle with.

“When we started looking at statistics, we found there are a lot of areas in the town which are in the top 10 per cent in the country on the multiple deprivation index, and a lot more that are in the top 20 per cent.”

Anybody interested in helping the food hub can contact Katy on 07876 703583 or visit shrewsburyfoodhub.org.uk

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