Community Pantry @ Castle Hill Community Centre
Castle Hill Community Centre (CHCC) in Highfield Road, Ipswich, in partnership with North West Ipswich Big Local Trust (NWI BLT) has been very busy during the current COVID 19 crisis. They have successfully set up a food bank to support the community in North West Ipswich and surrounding areas. A small but dedicated team consisting of Garath Jones Centre Manager, Angela Stroud Assistant Manager and Tracey Dockery of NWI BLT have been working hard to meet demand.
At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, the NWI BLT acted quickly to find a way to support residents in need in the Whitton, Whitehouse and Castle Hill areas. An initiative called Fresh Food Fridays was launched. The BLT funded a Fruit and Vegetable bundle for those in the community in need, made possible by the generous support of Kays Fruit and Vegetable shop on Meredith Road Ipswich. Since the launch, we have supported 182 families. Tracey Dockery of the NWI BLT stated that “the demand for this has grown and grown, we are now working with local schools and organisations to ensure those most in need get this help when they need it. We have learnt that for those receiving a box of fresh fruit and veg with all colours of the rainbow has made a real difference way beyond the food itself ”.
Building on the success of Fresh Food Friday, NWI BLT and CHCC wanted to help even more of the community and recognising the current need, set up a food bank called North West Ipswich, Community Pantry @ Castle Hill Community Centre. The food bank operated its first food deliveries in April and so far have helped 255 families. The food bank operates on a referral basis and has linked in with key contacts in their local areas. It operates weekly on Tuesdays from CHCC in Highfield Road Ipswich
A team of volunteers help prepare parcels for onward delivery to those in need. CHCC is very grateful to FareShare, Asda and Morrisons for their support with food donations and to Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, Community Action Suffolk, Nansen Road Church and The Bus Shelter for their advice and referrals but “Its success is really due to our amazing team of volunteers who by their dedication have made this happen” said Angela Stroud Assistant Manager of CHCC.
CHCC and NWI BLT ensure that all Health and Safety Measures are met at all stages in the process with PPE and social distancing rules always in place while preparing and distributing parcels. North West Ipswich, Community Pantry @ Castle Hill Community Centre continues to receive referrals weekly and, in some cases, deals with repeat orders. The feedback received is amazing and really drives us to support our community, which is central to the ethos of the Centre.