WORCESTER Foodbank is going the extra mile to help its most vulnerable clients after securing a £36,000 funding boost to buy its first ever delivery van.
The charity has picked up the keys to a VW Transporter which has been paid for by a grant from supermarket giant Asda. The funding also covers the cost of keeping it on the road over the next three years.
It means foodbank can now drive forward its plans to deliver emergency food parcels to the doorsteps of people who are unable to reach its Lowesmoor warehouse due to a range of difficulties, including disability.
Until now the charity has had to rely on the goodwill of its volunteers to transport supplies in their own vehicles or through providing clients with free bus travel, as part of a partnership with First Worcester.
But the van will enable the charity to expand this support, as well as collect some of the 75 tonnes of stock that are donated by its supporters each year through supermarkets, schools, churches, businesses and other organisations.
Grahame Lucas, foodbank manager, said: “It’s been our dream to get a van so we could go the extra mile to help a significant number of vulnerable clients who find it impossible to reach us. It will also lighten the load on the many large families we help that cannot afford the transport needed to carry very heavy food parcels.”
The funding was awarded from Asda’s Fight Hunger Create Change campaign. The supermarket chain is working in partnership with the Trussell Trust, which oversees a network of foodbanks, and FareShare – a charity that is fighting hunger and food waste.
It comes as the city’s foodbank tries to contend with growing demand for its help, fuelled largely by payment delays and other difficulties caused by the continuing rollout of Universal Credit.
Foodbank helped feed more than 6,500 people in 2018 but that number is expected to rise by as much as 50 per cent in the next year, leaving the charity needing to find an additional 30,000 meals.