We believe that everyone should have enough food to feed themselves and their family - right?
And that no-one should have to choose between food or heat, or not have a table to sit at, plates to eat off, or a bed to sleep in at night. It doesn't sound like much, and in today's day and age you might be tempted to think that problems like this don't exist in places like Cornwall. But they do.
Wadebridge and the surrounding areas of North Cornwall are popular holiday spots and contain some of the most expensive real estate in the UK. Yet our patch also contains areas that fall within the 10% most deprived in the country. Our county has one of the lowest average incomes, and many people living here depend on low wage, zero-hour jobs in hospitality, leisure and tourism. They've been heavily impacted by COVID-19, and we know that we have not seen the worst of it yet.
When Wadebridge Foodbank and StoreHouse opened in 2009, many people said that it was not needed here, yet in the past 10 years, we've fed nearly 30,000 people from our centres in Wadebridge, Bodmin and Camelford.
We provide the traditional three days' worth of dried and tinned food to local people in crisis need, but also a whole load more: a cup of tea and a listening ear, money management courses and signposting to additional support services. We distribute surplus food from local supermarkets, ready meals from local caterers and manage a crisis fund for heating. In short, we do what it says on the side of our van: restore dignity and revive hope.
So why are we asking for your support now?
Well, since the start of COVID-19, demand for food boxes is up 80%. To manage this from our already too-small premises, we've had to rent additional storage and beg, borrow and steal space from friendly local businesses. We've doubled our opening hours to spread out shifts to ensure our volunteers can safely work two metres apart. We closed our drop-in centres and moved to a delivery model overnight. If you want to know more, read about our COVID experience in The Guardian newspaper.
Even before COVID-19, we were planning and fundraising for a property of our own, but this urgent need is now critical. As well as needing somewhere bigger to ensure safe working for our volunteers, enable us to meet increased demand and store all of our food in one place, this will also allow us to re-start our StoreHouse project.
So what is StoreHouse?
StoreHouse is our furniture and household goods re-use project. The premise is simple: people donate furniture and household items (crockery, cutlery, bedlinen etc) and we sell these in our shop (allowing us to pay our bills and be sustainable) AND donate them, completely free of charge, to local people in crisis need - the only project in our area able do this. And before you ask - there's no creaming off the good stuff, or limit to what we'll give. If we have it, and some-one needs it, it's theirs. End of.
Unfortunately, StoreHouse closed three years ago when our previously-donated premises was sold and we moved into a much smaller place. But we know it is sorely missed and much needed. And with an increase in domestic violence since the start of COVID-19 (our no. 1 reason for referral to StoreHouse) and the economic impacts of coronavirus far from over, we know that our local community are going to need our services now more than ever.
Sounds great! How can I help?
We've found a cracking new place that's perfect for Foodbank and StoreHouse and all of our future plans. It's town centre, has plenty of space and even level loading for hefting in and out all that food and furniture (not easy to find!) We've raised a whole chunk of money through generous donations, fundraising and some lovely grants and trust funds that have enabled us to now take ownership of it, but we still need to raise approximately £50,000 to kit out the shop and get going - so we need your help to continue to provide for those in our local community in crisis need.
Every single donation received through our crowdfunder will go towards essential works that we need to get done before we can open. Most of the work (like painting and decorating) is being done by a great team of local volunteers, but we do need to pay for some things! These include:
- Replacing the carpet with non-slip flooring
- Replacing the 100+ light fittings in the shop with energy efficient ones that are cheaper to run and more environmentally friendly
- Essential electrical maintenance such as overhauling the fire and burglar alarms
- Purchasing racking and food storage equipment
- Fitting out our new offices and meeting spaces
- New shop signage
And what are the rewards?
Every single person that makes a donation will get their name on our Supporters Wall AND an entry into our Prize Draw. This will be drawn at our Grand Opening (date TBC) and the prizes include:
- A weekend at Mother Ivey's Bay Holiday Park, Cornwall.
- Dinner for 6 cooked by Fee's Foods Catering, at a location of your choice (within Cornwall).
- A £50 voucher for The Red Lion Inn, St Kew Highway
- 2 x cinema vouchers for Wadebridge Cinema
- A gorgeous cushion, designed by local artist, Carolyn Cleeve
- A large wall mirror, donated by Julian Foye (must be collected in person)
- An East handbag
We will also be creating an art installation in our shop called the 'Tin Can Tombola', using recycled cans (very fitting for a foodbank!) If you donate £50, £100, £500 or £1000 or more, you'll get your very own Green, Bronze, Silver or Gold tin can, hand embellished with your name, in the tombola. PLUS: an invitation to our Grand Opening. PLUS entry into the prize draw!