Those struggling in Aldershot could soon be set for a helping hand, as plans for a foodbank have been revealed.
Members of Aldershot Community Together – a new group of residents and businesses working with Rushmoor Borough Council on town projects – has discussed setting up a foodbank.
Councillor Alex Crawford, Rushmoor Labour party group leader and member of Aldershot Community Together, said a foodbank would be welcomed in Aldershot.
Despite having around 20,000 fewer residents than neighbouring Farnborough, which has its own foodbank, there is a similar need due to pockets of high deprivation Cllr Crawford said.
He added that Holy Trinity Church has been running The Larder – essentially a foodbank service, but it is due to cease shortly after Christmas due to the minister undertaking a new role in London.
Kings Church in the High Street ran a foodbank until it was replaced by The Empire last year.
“If you look at the statistics of need for the borough of Rushmoor, you see that there’s quite a few pockets of deprivation around,” Cllr Crawford said.
“Some of the most deprived are in Aldershot. The town centre is one of the most concentrated areas in the whole country in terms of people on pension credit.
“Aldershot Park also has a lot of deprivation. Aldershot is a small town of about 40,000 people, compared to Farnborough’s 60,000, but in terms of need it’s comparable. Farnborough Foodbank has done a great job and we would like to do a similar job in Aldershot.”
Cllr Crawford said resident Keith Bean and Jackie Maw, the new minister for the Wellesley development, joined him in a visit to Farnborough Foodbank’s storage depot at Browning Barracks recently.
“We agreed that we would work with them,” Cllr Crawford added. “It’s so brilliantly organised.”
Five volunteers put themselves forward at the Aldershot Community Together meeting and Cllr Crawford is now looking for premises.
All that’s needed is a space for volunteers to interview clients and hand out food parcels. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with premises suggestions.
'Pulling together as a community'
Councillor Gareth Lyon, Rushmoor Council’s cabinet member for concessions and community support, said council leader Cllr David Clifford, and Cllr Paul Taylor have been exploring setting up a foodbank, along with Aldershot churches.
“Everyone’s on the same page,” Cllr Lyon said, suggesting the two foodbank projects could work together.
He added: "Organisations like The Larder and Farnborough Foodbank have done, and are doing, a tremendous job in our community.
"They are a great example of local people showing compassion and charity and we should encourage that if this means setting up a new foodbank in Aldershot .
"It proves that the people of Aldershot and Farnborough are pulling together as a community to help those struggling.”
The Department for Work and Pensions said: “Tackling poverty and delivering social reform is a priority for this Government. The number of people in relative low income has fallen by 300,000 since 2010 but we’re going further to help the most disadvantaged by tackling the root causes – not just the symptoms – of poverty.”