In March 2020, the very start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a wide range of voluntary sector organisations, and statutory bodies, came together in collaboration with Action Together in Rochdale, to discuss the food crisis for families and individuals struggling to afford food and the stigma and shame around food poverty and access to appropriate food for those isolated in the borough.
In addition to this, a solution, to the overwhelming generosity of food donations the public were making to the various food banks, pantries, food clubs, churches and other voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) organisations across the borough was needed.
This group of voluntary organisations did not just talk about this crisis, they decided to do something about it! Together with Action Together they launched the Food Solutions Network: a gathering of all the various organisations involved in food provision across Rochdale Borough. The network now has over 30+ organisations who meet once a month to discuss food poverty, safe access to appropriate food, and to work together.
After discussing all the issues and the possibilities of a better way forward - the idea of the Community Warehouse was born!
If you would like to be a member of the Food Solutions Network, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how you can join.
What is the Community Warehouse and how does it work?
The Community Warehouse was set up in November 2020 and acts as a central distribution hub that can receive bulk donations and supplies for redistribution to voluntary sector groups allowing smaller food providers to concentrate on what they do best and provide support to the people of Rochdale Borough.
The warehouse is stocked with food and essential items as well as economic, health and wellbeing support resources created by our community such as Family Art Packs and Winter Warmer Care Packages. We recognise that food is a ‘gateway’ to whole person support. To help this happen, Action Together is offering £1000 grants to groups who can make Care Packs to help us stock the Community Warehouse. You can find out more information about the Repond, Repair and Recovery Fund here.
If you are a VCFSE operating in Rochdale who would like to find out more about the warehouse or place an order for food stock, care packs and literature please email email@example.com.
The warehouse is managed by Action Together and an incredible team of volunteers who work hard to support the 30+ VCFSE which form the Food Solutions Network. Our mission is to improve access to food and supplies, for the people of Rochdale Borough, with dignity and without deprivation.
You can find out more about the team and our values by reading our ‘How we want to be Together’ manifesto.
Kerry Bertram, Strategic Local Lead for Action Together in Rochdale commented:
“This Network has been a great example of how people have come together to support a specific crisis in these difficult times. The causes of food poverty are complex and multiple, involving financial and personal circumstances and the way the network has come together to support families and individuals in this difficult time is commendable."
How can my business be involved?
If you are a business or private company interested in donating your time or resources with a donation or volunteering opportunities, please click here to download our Business Support pack.
Special thanks for local businesses who have already contributed!
We’d like to thank some of our local businesses for supporting the Community Warehouse. Mecca Bingo donated lots of food stock and brought a staff team to make up 150 ‘Winter Warmer’ parcels which were donated via food providers over the winter period. BES Ltd donated £5,000 which bought warehouse shelving and equipment and a stock of hats, scarves and hot chocolate which we used, with their staff team to make up 250 Winter Warmer packs and provide stock to support some of the homeless charities in the borough.
Company Director of BES Ltd shared:
“Action Together is doing great work in bringing people and businesses together to support local communities in Rochdale, Oldham and Tameside. Covid has given us all the chance to reflect on the important things in life. We hope that our donation will help to buy the ‘Winter Warmer’ parcel stock needed by the Food Solutions Network to support those most in need during these testing times.”
If you are interested in working together to improve access to food in the borough, please join us for the Food Solutions Network. Click the link below to register your space:
I am an individual who needs support
Anyone who is struggling with food poverty or would like further information about the various Foodbanks operating in the borough can click here to get help.
If you or an individual is shielding due to Covid-19 and need help you can also click here for information.