Volunteers to launch foodbank in Rutland

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A foodbank will soon be launched in Rutland to help feed families struggling with their finances.

A group of volunteers has joined forces with The Trussell Trust, which helps set up foodbanks across the country, to bring the service to Rutland residents.

The foodbank will launch on September 23 at Jules One-Stop in Melton Road, Oakham.

A collection was held at the Oakham Co-operative store on Friday last week and more than a ton of food has been donated to the cause.

One of the organisers is Mark Melluish, a member of Oakham Baptist Church. He also volunteers for Operation Rudolph, which donates parcels to vulnerable families at Christmas, and was among a group approached by Rutland County Council about setting up the foodbank.

He said: “We have been working closely with the council and other agencies in Rutland. All the other churches are getting involved in it. It’s a big community effort.”

Group members say they know there is a demand in the county, but are not yet sure exactly how many referrals they will get.

Mark said: “You never know until you start it, especially in a town like Oakham.

“We speak to Stamford Foodbank and they are quite busy. I think there will be a need in Rutland. But we don’t know to what extent.”

Volunteers to man the foodbank have already been recruited, although more are always welcome, and training has begun ahead of the launch date. People getting supplies from the foodbank have to be referred by another agency, for example, a school, church, GPs or social services.

Initially they will be able to collect food from Jules One-Stop on Mondays and Fridays, and Uppingham Parish Church on Fridays.

The group also hopes to run sessions at Oakham Congregational Church Hall on Wednesdays.

Mark added: “We have already had plenty of donations. Many find it is far different than giving money to charity.

“This is about providing basic needs. We have had people coming up with carrier bags full of food to donate. It has been quite encouraging.”

If you would like to find out more about the foodbank visit the Rutland Foodbank website, e-mail info@rutland.foodbank.org.uk or call 07582 783363.