05:10PM, Tuesday 13 October 2020
Volunteers at Maidenhead Foodshare
Maidenhead Foodshare completed a successful move into the recently vacated Tesco site in the Nicholsons Centre last night (Monday), with 60 volunteers working three hours to help out.
Now the Tesco Metro has departed from the shopping centre, it has freed up 18,000 square feet of space in the shopping centre, much needed by Foodshare.
Since April, the charity has been running out of the unit on the site of the old Argos. The new location is three times the size.
“It was always meant to be a temporary place – now hopefully have something more permanent for the medium term,” said Foodshare trustee Lester Tanner.
The foodbank originally moved when it become ‘impossible’ to manage in the old premises – the charity saw a customer increase of 300 to 800 people a week during the pandemic.
Now evening out at about 400, Foodshare expects this figure to start to climb again as the furlough scheme ends.
The charity is keeping its old premises on The New Market on King Street for storage but has moved its customer-facing foodbank to the new site.
The vast amount of extra space frees up Foodshare to restart the events it was running before the start of the pandemic.
This includes personalised shopping, take-out meals for the homeless and an hour for the elderly to enjoy tea and cake and company.
Alongside its usual volunteers, Foodshare received an enthusiastic response from extra volunteers for the move.
“We had a terrific response from the community – lots of people stepped forward to help. We had so many people we had to turn some away,” said Lester.
“We had the whole Nicholson Centre to ourselves, which allowed us to social distance,” said Debbie Gee, who oversaw the move.
“Everybody supported us, local businesses and all the supermarkets have really pitched in.”
Homebase, Iceland and Marks and Spencer all donated trolleys for transporting the food, while Sainsbury’s donated a microwave and a kettle for preparing hot meals and drinks.
Foodshare will now spend the next couple of weeks settling into their new space – which is already looking full, despite the significant space upgrade.
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