Foodbank celebrates successful first year

Graham Storer and Graham Hilton at Whitby's foodbank
Graham Storer and Graham Hilton at Whitby's foodbank

Whitby’s foodbank celebrates its first anniversary later this month – and two of the men who helped get the facility up and running have deemed its inaugural year a “success”.

“The foodbank has developed steadily over the last 12 months.

“When we first opened and only one or two people were coming to us, we wondered if we were needed. But we just had to become known and locals had to learn to trust something new.

“The demand for the service we provide is certainly here in Whitby, we have varying numbers of people through the doors each week, although I’m pleased to say that at the moment supply is still ahead of demand.

“Since we opened a year ago, the people in this town have demonstrated incredible generosity. We need people to keep making donations so that we can continue to help those who find themselves in food poverty.”

With the expense of Christmas, the festive period is often a difficult time for some families, but foodbank volunteers were delighted by the response from the local community last month.

“People in Whitby are generous most of the time, but they have been even more so over the Christmas period,” Mr Storer said.

“I feel a lot of it stems from people not wanting to think of children going without at this time of year.

“Someone from as far away as Germany made a donation for Christmas. They sent a family member £50 to do a food shop which was donated to us.”

Many of the donations made to the foodbank come via their collection point in Sainsbury’s, and the facility has been boosted by the news that the town’s Co-operative Food store looks set to carry a similar installation at their Langborne Road base.

Despite this positive development and the progress made during the last 12 months, Mr Storer still feels there is plenty more that the foodbank can achieve in Whitby.

“A lot of people are understandably reluctant to use food banks,” he added.

“Folks have their pride and there is the embarrassment factor to take into account – it can be a case of coaxing people into accepting what we can offer them and that is something we need to continue to do.

“This is why the atmosphere at the foodbank is important. It is crucial that nobody feels demeaned by coming to us.”

There are also other areas of the community that Mr Storer feels the foodbank can still reach out to.

“Generally the older generation, who don’t get out as much and can end up little bit isolated, either don’t know about us or don’t tend to use us,” he continued.

“But we are keen to reach these people as well as develop our relationship with the schools so that we can continue to support young families who are struggling.

“We help children during the school holidays when school lunches are not available and extra food is needed.

“We are also looking to improve and grow our connections with other local volunteer organisations as we feel that working alongside each other can be mutually beneficial.”

Foodbank4whitby are on the look out for anyone who can help with the administrative side of their operation.

If you are interested, please telephone (01947) 810776 or email