Volunteers needed to help Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank make the most of expansion plans

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Image captionDaphine Aikens, founder and manager of the H&F Foodbank

Hammersmith & Fulham Foodbank is looking forward to opening its third centre in the borough - enabling them to help many more residents in need.

Founded in 2010, the charity currently runs from its main base in Fulham twice a week and provides an outreach service in Shepherds Bush once a week, relying on the kindness of others to provide the space.

From February they will open their third centre, largely funded by H&F Council, enabling them to offer a full time service throughout the borough. They now need more residents to volunteer and help them make the most of the extra space.

“H&F Foodbank is a wonderful charity which, sadly, is badly needed in the borough,” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion.

“We are doing what we can to stop the need for food banks locally but while people do we’re proud that so many residents are stepping forward to help. We are doing everything we can to support their efforts.”

People assessed as needing the support from H&F Foodbank are referred by local organisations and services, such as children’s centres, voluntary organisations, GPs, social workers and the borough’s citizens’ advice bureau using a voucher system. Enough food for 10 meals is provided at a time, as well as other essentials such as toiletries.

“We know the need is great and this will enable us to offer services six days a week across our three sites,” said H&F Foodbank founder and manager Daphine Aikens.

“At the moment at our location in Shepherds Bush we have to pack up every time we leave. With the new centre in White City we will be open for longer and will be much more accessible.

“As well as providing a caseworker who can provide general advice, we also plan to run cooking courses and more services to make sure our customers get the all of the support they need.”

The mother-of-two said the new centre will allow them to offer more services.

“If someone is thinking about doing something in the community but doesn’t have anywhere to run it from, then get in contact,” the 48-year-old said. “We’d love to offer space for other activities such as counselling and art sessions.”

The new site in the north of the borough means H&F Foodbank need more volunteers to help with a wide range of tasks, such as packing boxes, filling shelves, driving the van, volunteering in the warehouse and making people feel welcome, as well as run activities.

The foodbank is always in need of supplies, especially after a busy Christmas period, although does not need any more pasta, rice, baked beans or tea bags.

The independent charity, which is affiliated with the Trussell Trust, helped about 600 people during the festive period and supplied food boxes to other organisations to give to those in need.

Food and other essentials can be dropped off at the following sites across the borough: Hammersmith Town Hall; Budgens, Munster Road; Tesco, Shepherds Bush Rd; Sainsburys, Townmead Rd; Sainsburys, Fulham Broadway Shopping Centre; Halifax Building Society, King Street; Waitrose, Parsons Green; Waitrose North End Road; Waitrose, Westfield; Askew Road Library, Askew Road; Shepherds Bush Library, Wood lane; Hammersmith Library, Shepherds Bush Road and Fulham Library, Fulham Road.

Visit the H&F Foodbank website for more details including a list of items the charity is currently most in need of.

Amey, the council's contractors, converted the H&F-owned site ready for the Foodbank to move in and are also helping with the cost of getting it ready.