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Meet Gill from Poole Foodbank

27 August 2020

Poole Foodbank

The Food Standards Agency has recently reported that one in 10 people had accessed a food bank in June and with the trend anticipated to continue to increase due to repercussions of the pandemic, food banks up and down the country have never been more vital to communities.

 Poole Foodbank, based at the Longfleet United Reform Church, is no exception, helping to provide support to those who cannot always support themselves. We spoke to Gill Payne, Poole Foodbank’s manager, to find out more about the vital work they provide the local community. 

Can you tell us about the Poole Foodbank and how it was established?

Poole Foodbank was set up around 13 years ago when two people saw the great need in Poole and the service has continued to grow since then operating from a church building and offering food parcels to those in need. 

Poole Foodbank predominantly supports anyone from the Poole community who is struggling financially, to the extent that they cannot afford to put food on the table. 

What other services does the Poole Foodbank offer?

Poole Foodbank is one of many projects that come under the banner of Faithworks which operates across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and also has Foodbanks in Blandford and Wimborne. In addition to supporting those in food poverty, Faithworks work alongside those with addictions, debt, homelessness and lone parents. At Poole Foodbank we not only offer food, but we also offer referrals to these other support services.  

How can others help support your work in the community?

We gratefully receive the support of people across Poole who provide the three things that a Foodbank needs to operate: Food, Feet, (volunteers) and Finance. As a charity, we start with nothing, and consider ourselves to be 'stewards' of all that is donated to us.     

What is your role at the foodbank?

I have been the manager of Poole Foodbank for 4½ years now. My previous life was as a civil servant in the Department for Work and Pensions for 39 years. This is a great opportunity to directly support those in our community who are struggling and to see people experience 'hope' from a life that has been worn down.  

What do you like most about living/working in Poole?

I am a Bournemouth girl! But the best thing about working in Poole is the incredible way in which all the support services work together to bring about change for those in need. The Poole voluntary sector and statutory authorities are one big team! 

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