Bishop of Manchester officially opens UNIT-E

The Bishop of Manchester Dr David Walker officially opened ‘Unit E’, a food storage warehouse in Wythenshawe Town Centre.

The Bishop took the opportunity to meet Trustees and Volunteers at the warehouse, run by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group‘s Real Food Team Unit-E stores food before distributing to seven food banks across the area, working with the Trussell Trust model in partnership with the ‘The Food Poverty Group’

The Trussell Trust is a poverty charity founded on Christian principles, their mission is bringing communities together to end hunger and poverty in the UK by providing compassionate, practical help whilst challenging injustice.

The Trussell Trust’s 400-strong network of foodbanks provides a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK. In 2015/16, it gave 1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis.

WCHG’s Unit-E is a real opportunity to make a difference in the Wythenshawe community. Utilising the Trussell Trust model has resulted in a collaborative and sustainable approach, bringing people and organisations together to focus on, supporting individuals and families living in food poverty and addressing the long term solutions.

The Food Poverty Group was originally the vision of the late Paul Goggins MP, who was passionate about making a difference and improving the lives of people in the Wythenshawe area. WCHG has continued the work in partnership with the Food Poverty Group on this project to leave a lasting legacy for Paul’s vision for the area.

Adopting the Trussell Trust model for this project and working in collaboration with Fareshare, will provide a more streamlined approach and reducing the potential ad hoc nature of food banks. With a bespoke referral system and data base in operation, this approach will allow frontline professionals to make referrals to food banks ensuring those in crisis do not go hungry.

This model has resulted in a collaborative and sustainable approach, bringing people and organisations together to help focus on, supporting individuals and families living in food poverty and addressing the long term solutions.

The Bishop of Manchester David Walker said “Food poverty is not new to Wythenshawe, but by linking together seven food banks and the Real Food kitchen, we are now able to work across the whole area and see that a better service is provided to help those struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Mike Kane MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East said “Unit-E is a lasting legacy of the work of my predecessor Paul Goggins MP and a testament to the incredible hard work of all involved with Wythenshawe Food Bank and Real Food Wythenshawe. The dedication and commitment of staff and volunteers, to ensure that families in Wythenshawe who are struggling to feed themselves have somewhere to go and do not go hungry, is a daily inspiration to me”.

Rev’d Adam Dickson, Chair of Trustees for Wythenshawe Food Bank said “It was a delight to welcome Bishop David Walker to Unit-E, the central warehouse of the newly-launched Wythenshawe Food Bank, and to discuss with him the vital work of volunteers and community groups in addressing issues of food poverty. Given his roles as both a senior leader in the Church of England and now the Chair of the Board for WCHG, his support captures something of this crucial partnership between local organisations and churches, committed to serving the common good of our area together.”

Francess Davies-Tagoe, General Manager Tree of Life said ”The Tree of Life Centre is a proud partner of the Wythenshawe Foodbank. It was indeed a privilege to meet with an inspiring community minded leader such as the Bishop of Manchester, who understands and shares our values in terms of working in partnership with others to create a sustainable resource for those most in need in Wythenshawe.

For more information on Unit E contact Real Food Wythenshawe, Jacqueline Naraynsingh, Real Food Programme Manager, Jacqueline.Naraynsingh@wchg.org.uk or Pam Moran, Real Food Cooking and Skills Coordinator, if you would like to make a donation.