Managers Report - Liz Jermy
well, what can I say? what a year... what a year it has been.
First of all, thank you for appointing me, for having me as your manager and for putting up with
all my foibles and forgiving me for learning on the job and for sometimes getting it wrong. I only
have a few bruises and I heal quickly!
Seriously, Phil as your previous manager, did a great job and we always knew he would be a hard
act to follow. At the AGM last year, he was given a send off with a big tree and a few weeks later
at a volunteer training event - Phil's last contribution before letting me off the lead - we gave him
a present of a 3 day emergency food parcel to send him on his way ( wine, choccies, and scrummy
Other thank yous
All the volunteers -but Caroline, John, Debbie and Vikki in particular for holding the fort whilst I
was away for 10 weeks travelling as part of my husband's sabbatical. They had to do the stock
take which was a challenging piece of work and I am so grateful to them for this. They recruited
and trained a bunch of new volunteers whom I am still getting to know. Fantastic. In fact, I am not
sure if they even need the leader!
Nationally in Trussell Trust 2016/17 ; 1,182,954 three day food parcels with 436,938 going to
children. The number is increasing year on year.
In the Midlands it was 111,386 parcels, Wales 95,190 parcels
Main reasons: low income, benefit delays, benefit changes
The benefit system is complex, fragmented and not accessible. People don't feel empowered and
their sense of worth and mental health is eroded.. You are twice as likely to be in poverty if you
are an adult who is disabled. No one person has just one thing going on.
Simon Hopkins CEO of charity 'Turn 2Us' recently stated :yes, there is £1billion of benefit fraud
but £16 billion in benefits remains unclaimed.
( in 2015 the Joseph Rowntree report showed that for the first time there are now more
people in work living below the poverty line than there are out of work). It is currently 13
million living in poverty in the UK. ( gov report)
NB in UK a couple with 2 children must earn less than £20,436 pa excluding household costs
to be considered under the poverty line.
Absolute poverty and relative poverty.... ( we measure relative poverty which is against
other countries comparatively - this is used for wealthy countries with poverty.)
Other STATS: 427 Trussell Trust FB's , 11,175 tonnes donated by the public,40,000 people volunteered in a TT Food bank , 48,041 frontline professionals such as GP,and S/W's give vouchers to people in crisis.
Our STATS : stock :-18 tonnes came in (18160.34kg) and 20 tonnes went out.(21101.43kg)
More was given out than received. This can be attributed in part to a huge need over Christmas
this last year with nearly 100 hampers of food given out - a record number. over 800 kg of food
was given out in just one day when we saw about 50 people through our doors in just a 4 hour
We also had a record amount of harvest coming in and this took weeks to sort and to record.
Another reason is that last summer we carried out a scheme for parents of school age children
who would struggle to feed their family throughout the summer holidays. We will be doing this
again this year - which they were able to access the food bank each week. We helped 16 families
in this way and expect it to increase this year as more schools get on board with the scheme.
At Oswestry and Borders: we gave food to 1614 people, 619 were children. This is on average 31
people every week of the year.
What have we done/achieved this year?
We've been in to 8 schools - from nursery to 6 th formers. There have been some repeated invitations which we will hopefully take up in the autumn - this has varied from classroom activities to baked bean treasure hunts to taking assemblies and discussions around poverty in our area.
harvest collections - churches and schools
tesco collection x 2
joined the Fairshare partnership - collecting bakery products twice a week
flowers twice a month with Sainsbury's
been on the radio and in the newspapers
said goodbye to some amazing volunteers and welcomed new ones in.
had a Christmas celebration at the boathouse - had our first food bank awards for all volunteers
bought a shipping container to store our excess stock and to make space in our shop. Did you
know we are the only FB in a shop?
stock take in March after our quality assurance inspection by TT
expanded our agency support base/ referral base
received £800 from Chirk Charities Relief Fund to specifically assist those living in Chirk
received £750 from The Common Good Fund to specifically offer work experience to the Syrian
ladies - this is pending as I am meeting up with the Refugee Action on the 15 th June to map out a
received £300 from Stans food store to place into our emergency fund .
continue to open our doors 4 times a week in Oswestry and Ellesmere.
increased giving.frpm local churches and organisations.
The question and future of Food banks
There are now studies being undertaken and completed all centred around food bank usage and
why people come to rely on the food banks. These studies are happening in both Oxford and
Cambridge universities, by individuals who are writing books and by journalists who have
volunteered in FB's to experience who uses them and why. Some are now talking less about
celebratory stories but of getting to the root of this problem and about being more than a sticking
plaster and fire fighting or even helping to increase the dependency on handouts. There are over
2000 FB's in the country - some small, some huge. There are other initiatives going on to enable fb
users to expand their skills and chances of a fulfilled life such as the cooking course Eat Well
Spend Less, pay as much as you are able cafes, food pantries where for a weekly fee of £2.50 you
can shop for 10 items a week - more like a normal shop and the list goes on. some food banks
such as west Cheshire have done some of their own research and found that giving soup and a roll
and good company is helping to bring friendships into the lives of their clients.
Beyond food parcels event this year , Still Hungry report.
if we envisage a future without food banks, what should our response be now?
what is our response here in Oswestry? After a lot of thinking and vision building we are
going to partner with STAR housing who have 10,000 houses in Shropshire, Job Centre Plus,
CAP ( Christians against poverty) and us the food bank to run a job club and IT support drop in
herein the food bank. we have applied for and have been awarded 2 years of funding to run the
job club which includes paying us the food bank to host it for 4 hours a week. This should be up
and running by the end of the summer. we are also hoping to begin having a debt advice resource
by January 2018. and are in the process of fund raising. This will not in any way detract from the
work of the food bank and the volunteers who are so committed each and every week - rather it
will complement the work we do and offer a way upwards and forwards for clients with a chance
to become debt free and in paid or voluntary work for perhaps the first time in their adult lives. I
have seen the volunteers become passionate about some of our clients seemingly desperate
situations and we have had to think through what we are able to offer and how to continue to be
effective here in our community.
It's a heart condition, seizing the day, living a generous life.