The Huddersfield Welcome Centre Food Bank and More – Our Visit and How Your Donations Helped
After an amazing effort from our colleagues in Huddersfield during December, Ridley & Hall were able to donate a car full of food to the Huddersfield Welcome Centre Food Bank.
Andrew Gullett and I, thought it would be a brilliant, fun idea to visit the Welcome Centre and find out where all our donations end up…quite frankly we were astounded!
Aside from the kindness of the staff and the volunteers, their work is extremely important! The team help over 6,499 people per year, and last year delivered 23,398 crisis packs to families in need. This includes those who are homeless, suffering from domestic violence, suffering from physical and mental health problems and debt or eviction.
Millions of families may be just one pay cheque away from requiring the help of a food bank. In 2022-2023 almost 3 million people in the UK used a food bank, and with the cost of living crisis, it would not be surprising to see an increase in this number throughout 2024.
Together with providing crisis packs to those in need, The Welcome Centre provide support to those using their services and ultimately help them to support themselves, without the use of a food bank. This includes help budgeting, emotional support, grants, signposting and providing New Home Starter Packs (including kettles, toasters, pots and pans).
On Tuesday 23rd January, Andrew Gullet and I wrapped up warm and visited the warehouse to help build and decant food packs.
The process of building a food pack is as follows:
- The Welcome Centre at Lord Street in Huddersfield receive a referral from an organisation. This could be The Job Centre for example, who vet clients before referring them. This ensures that they are genuinely in need of the food pack to be provided.
- The details of such client will then be sent to the warehouse. This is printed out and checked by a volunteer, who then passes this to the volunteers chosen to pack.
- The details of the client explain their name and age, whether they live alone or whether anyone else lives with them, whether they have any dietary requirements or allergies, and whether they have all cooking facilities (often some clients do not have cooking facilities, and so the crisis pack will contain foods that do not require cooking).
- Once the volunteer has checked this, they will take a trolley and go around the warehouse with a shopping list for the particular client. This is often standard but depends on the amount of people the crisis pack is providing for.
- The pack is bagged up and then moved on for either delivery or collection.
Whilst we joked that the work we did could be likened to ‘Supermarket Sweep’, the work The Welcome Centre do is extremely significant in the community. We had a great day out of the office, meeting new people, having a coffee and cake with the volunteers and ultimately, helping to make a difference!
Andrew Gullett and I will be organising a further day to the food bank, hopefully within the next few months.
Supporting the community is an integral part of Ridley & Hall’s core values. We take pride in our colleagues actively participating in various initiatives to support both local and national charities. Recently, Ridley & Hall introduced a new entitlement of 2 volunteering days per year to colleagues, and we look forward to involving more colleagues in the future.