About the Blandford Food Bank

Blandford Food Bank opened as an initiative of the local Churches in Blandford in 2012, working in partnership with Faithworks Wessex. At the time we helped 9 local vulnerable families, however, by the end of 2020, and through a pandemic, we had helped 4000+ local people!

The Food Bank’s initial idea was to offer a food parcel to anyone going through a short term crisis and who had been referred to us. This help was limited to three food parcels within a six month period.

We realised very quickly that crises do not last six months; we needed to be there for the long term. This then started the development of the food bank in many exciting and different ways.

Food Bank Success

Our first initiative was to set up the Community Money Advice Scheme in partnership with Faithworks Wessex.  This allows those accessing help from the food bank to speak to trained Debt Advisors and Budget Coaches.  We have seen huge successes in this area, helping many people out of debt trauma, bringing them hope and giving them a new future.

Running up to Christmas, the food bank linked with Blandford Rotary supported many of our vulnerable families with Toys, all donated by the local community. The Rotary Club secured a suitable location within the centre of Blandford and carefully collected and sorted through the toys for us. Families were then referred to the food bank by our Secondary School, 3 Primary Schools and Preschools. Some very heartbreaking stories were shared with us by mums who were so very grateful and thankful!

Since then, we have gone from strength to strength.

Testimonial from a recent client

“I was swamped with Debt and hiding it from my partner as she finds it difficult to understand and, overall, just made things more difficult to deal with. I was no longer running my self-employed business and was signed off ill with mental health issues which have been with me as far back as I can remember. I felt like I was at the bottom of an ocean that just kept getting deeper and, as a result, was hiding from the mail, from the door and robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I began work with Blandford Food Bank/Community Money Advice, and it was surprisingly much easier than I imagined. To be honest, I was dreading the meeting. I remember leaving the very first meeting with a feeling of surprised relief and, at long last, being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

They take a lot of the burden and will guide you to new freedom, a different kind of freedom but freedom without debt! I cannot recommend their services more, and if you are feeling anything like I was, then just bite the bullet and take the weight off your life. It is so easy in comparison to how you feel right now.”

Blandford Food Bank Current Initiatives

Easter Initiative

Our newest initiative supported by Blandford Rotary is to give every vulnerable child at Easter a packet of seeds (lettuce), a pot and compost, to help encourage children to develop a love of growing things. The parcel also contained lunch items and an Easter Egg, together with a game (Uno) to play with over the weekend!

Local School Breakfast

We provide our local schools regularly with breakfast items as some children arrive without having had breakfast. This, in turn, has provided an opportunity to talk about the importance of food groups (fruit and veg) to children and give them a chance to practice their fine motor skills, buttering bread!

Bedtime Bags

Another half-term initiative saw the food bank linking with Blandford Community Kitchen in sending out Bedtime Bags to pre-schoolers. These bags contained a reading book, biscuits, hot chocolate and a hand-knitted Teddy Bear! Hugely successful! Older children received a Maths set and a scientific calculator with notebooks enabling them to do their homework! Many families are unable to purchase these items and children have to share these with others at school.

Recipe Bags

Each food parcel contains a Recipe bag, which Blandford Rotary has also funded; these bags contain a simplified recipe and all the ingredients to make that particular meal, again encouraging families to learn to cook with their children. We’re on our 5th recipe, Minced Beef and Chilli!

Healthier Eating

Blandford Foodbank is gently steering people towards a healthier way of eating through the use of our new fresh Veg Boxes. These contain enough vegetables to make two homemade soups together with a Recipe Card. We are then taking this a step further and relooking at the food parcel to see how we can change it to include much healthier items (ie: exchange white carbohydrates for brown, white sugar for unrefined sugar, etc).

Buddy Scheme

Finally, we have just set up a Buddy Scheme. This is aimed primarily at clients using our Community Money Advice Scheme. Buddies will walk alongside clients offering support and a listening ear. If this proves to be successful, and there are good indicators that this works very well, we will be providing every client with a Buddy soon.