With help from the Conservatives, Devizes Foodbank has found a temporary new home

With help from the Conservatives, Devizes Foodbank has found a temporary new home

Above: Alan Beamish, third left, with councillors Simon Jacobs and Andy Johnson with volunteers of Devizes Food-bank at Devizes Hospital. Photo by Siobhan Boyle

Devizes Food-bank, which faces a serious threat of closure, has found temporary safety in its new premises in Devizes Hospital, thanks to the Great Western Hospitals Foundation Trust which owns the site. The G.W.H.F.T. generously offered its facilities after Conservative MP Claire Perry, joined by Conservative Wiltshire Councillor Simon Jacobs and many others, campaigned for the Food-bank to be saved.

Keen supporter of the Devizes Food-bank, Claire Perry, said: 

I am so delighted. The food-bank does a fantastic job and it would have been terrible if it had to close.
I am so glad this temporary measure has been found but now we must keep looking for a permanent home.

It is likely that Devizes Hospital will close soon, and the site will be sold in order to help pay for an Urgent Care Centre that is to be built at Marshall Road, Devizes.

Alan Beamish, co-ordinator of the Devizes Food-bank, was hugely relieved that the food-bank had been relocated before the arrival of the deadline for moving out of the current food-bank base (Gaiger Bros former yard in Northgate Street).  Alan said: 

I was beginning to think we were not going to find anywhere to go which would have been a disaster. But I want to thank Claire Perry for her help in getting the hospital site and everyone else who has backed us, including the Gazette [and Herald].

He further thanked Gaigers for allowing the food-bank to use a store room free of charge for eight years. The building firm has moved to new premises in the town and is to develop its former offices and yard.

Conservative Town Councillor Andy Johnson, whose son Seijin, 26, is one of a number of disabled volunteers at the foodbank, first came up with the idea of contacting the hospital trust but did not receive a reply.  He said: 

I think it's wonderful that after a real struggle, and hard work by a number of us, that some of the unused space within the old Devizes hospital will be put to a really worthwhile use. It really is something to celebrate.
I didn't get an answer to my letter but thankfully Claire Perry got involved and that moved things forward.

Food-bank chairman Peter Brearley spelt out the importance of the charity during the hunt for premises. He said: 

Last year we helped 1,264 adults and 642 children. We often hear stories of mothers missing meals so their children can be fed.

Claire Perry has visited the food-bank, which also serves Marlborough and Pewsey, and was impressed.  She said: 

I saw first hand the effort and dedication that goes in to running this valuable service.

Story originally by Joanne Moore, of the Gazette & Herald. See the original article here.

by Hollis Butler,