AN Alcester food bank has marked its 10 year milestone – providing food for more than 5,000 people since it opened.

Arden Food Bank has been supporting people living in Alcester, Studley, and the surrounding areas for more than a decade, even though it was never intended to be a long-term project, the bank is more in demand than ever before.

In its first year, the food bank fed 212 adults and children for their distribution centres in Alcester and Studley. 

Fast forward 10 years the number has soared to 2,337 in the last year.

From 2013 to 2023 the food bank provided food for 5,331 people, adding up to 69,500kg of food in emergency parcels.

Susan Kinnersley, manager of Arden Food Bank said: “We have seen many changes over the past 10 years.

“The Arden Food Bank moved from its original venues to more suitable spaces, with cupboards and shelves built by our volunteer handymen to accommodate the increased stock.

“The pandemic meant that many volunteers had to resign and were replaced by other enthusiastic volunteers.

“During lockdown, we had to minimise ‘tea and support’ but continued to give out parcels to those in need as demand increased.

“Now numbers are increasing again, tea can be served, signposting has improved and our volunteers are coping magnificently.

“Paperwork has increased exponentially, from a simple beginning to all the demands of regulations, policies etc.

“However, there is no change in the dedication of the volunteers and the generosity of donors.

“How fortunate we are to be able to help others, yet how sad we are that after all this time the food bank is still needed.

“We will continue to be here until no one has to face going hungry in the UK.”

On April 19 the food bank held an event at Great Alne Memorial Hall to thank all 53 volunteers for their help.

However, the committee behind the food bank say they hope they won’t be holding a similar event in 2033 as they are aspiring for a country without the need for emergency food banks.

At the event, Susan reminisced over the decade journey and welcomed Sarah Richards, area manager for Warwickshire and Worcestershire for The Trussell Trust who recognised the hard work and dedication of the whole team at the food bank.

Mark Cargill, Mark, chairman of Stratford District Council and chairman of the Alcester Health and Wellbeing Partnership said: “I am fortunate to know and work with many volunteers and organisations in the Alcester area with one aim – to help others.

“The hardworking Arden Food Bank volunteers are no exception.

“The vision of the foodbank is that no one should go hungry. Just as important, a good diet leads to better future health outcomes.

“Alcester is nationally known for its health and wellbeing support and the food bank plays a significant part in that.

"We all expected that when food banks were first set up, they would only be temporary, addressing the needs of a particular time.

“In the 10 years the Arden Food Bank has been operating, we have not seen that reduction in need.

"If anything, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis have increased demand.

“On behalf of the residents of Alcester, Studley and the surrounding areas, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to you for all your hard work.”