Oswestry and Borders Foodbank has been established in the town since 2010. It has a dual purpose of providing emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, whilst campaigning for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
Located at 56 Beatrice Street, staff and a team of 35 amazing volunteers prepare emergency food parcels using donations received from the community. Households who are referred to the Foodbank receive a bespoke support package. The geographical area covered includes the town of Oswestry and the outlying villages, stretching into both Powys and Wrexham. Volunteer drivers deliver to households unable to collect for themselves.
In October 2022, the foodbank became a Foodbank PLUS with walk-in support services operating out of next door at number 58. These services include: The Samaritans, West Mercia Women’s Aid, Mental Health Practitioners and Public Health. Citizen’s Advice also work in partnership, offering appointments to those who access the Foodbank for help with the cost-of-living crisis, including accessing benefits, debt advice and financial budgeting.
Over 125 agencies from health, education, social welfare, housing, and crisis teams are linked with the Foodbank and can refer people for support. People are referred for a variety of reasons; there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to poverty. Debt, relationship break down, job loss, sudden illness, disabilities, an unexpected bill or struggling to keep up with the rising cost-of-living, can all drive people to crisis point. It is so important to break the stigma associated with being unable to afford the essentials, treating everyone with the dignity, respect, and the compassion they deserve.
Many households who need support are on Universal Credit, including those who are working. Currently, UC is not providing enough to cover the costs of life’s essentials, such as food, household bills or travel costs. A new proposal from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trussell Trust is calling on the Government for an ‘Essentials Guarantee’ to be built into our social security system. Local people can support the campaign by signing the ‘Guarantee Our Essentials’ petition at trusselltrust.org/petition, where more information can also be found.
Last year, Oswestry & Borders Foodbank provided 61 tonnes of food to 6904 people – a 38% increase on the previous year. The foodbank spent an extra £30,000 on food and toiletry items in addition to all the donations coming in. This year the demand is even greater and, with the rise in food costs, the projected spend for additional food purchases is estimated to total around £53,000, including £10,000 plus for Christmas food and gift hampers. The Foodbank is blessed with incredibly generous donors who give regularly through standing orders, but this does not cover all costs. A special thanks goes out for the Harvest and Christmas donations from local churches, charities, businesses, community groups and individuals, which ensure operations remain sustainable throughout the winter months and into next year.
In May of this year, Oswestry & Borders Foodbank was named Mayor Ollie Rose’s co-charity of the year alongside OsNosh. Oswestry Town Council have provided funding for some projects which are currently underway, enhancing the vital work that is done to combat poverty in the town of Oswestry and surrounding areas.
If you would like to find out more about O&B Foodbank, including how you can get help if you need it, and how you can give help if you are able, visit https://oswestryandborders.foodbank.org.uk. You can also follow Oswestry and Borders Foodbank’s pages on Facebook and Instagram.
Finally, Oswestry and Borders Foodbank would like to say a huge heart-felt thank you to all those who give so generously to supporting local people in crisis. Be it food, financial donations, or volunteering, you are making a huge difference to people’s lives when they need it most. Thank you!
MP Helen Morgan’s recent visit to Oswestry Foodbank.
Mayor Ollie Rose pictured at the Oswestry Foodbank AGM alongside Tony Maude (Chair of Trustees).