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Annual Review 2020 POOLE FOOD BANK+ JIMMY'S

I was overwhelmed by the generosity of all that was given to me... my youngest son... just said “wow” when I opened the bag! Usually teenage boys manage a grunt so that was definite confirmation of his gratitude too and I know my eldest will be equally excited, especially when I tell him we can make our own pizza tonight with the recipe kit we have. Thank you again, I really do appreciate it so much and I feel really happy for the first time in a while because a big weight has been lifted.

2020: Old to New

2020 was a year of huge change: we adapted our services to ensure an uninterrupted provision of food during the pandemic; we also moved to two new sites; gained two new members of staff and our volunteer team also grew!

We continued to distribute food through our main site, now called Jimmy's, as well as through our satellites. We support other local charities with bulk food deliveries from our newly established Store. We also work closely with local schools to ensure families receive extra food support throughout the year as needed. Holiday craft and sports packs are also given out to ensure families have affordable ways to spend time together and keep fit.

We believe that for support to be effective it must be holistic and so have continued to develop the CMA debt advice and budgeting support team with 1 new Debt Advisor and 5 new Budget Coaches.

Read on to find out more about how we have grown in the last year...

A New Name: Jimmy's

Due to the demand we outgrew our previous site and so relocated to St James' Church Centre near Poole Town Quay. This move has enabled us to move into a space which will provide a cafe-style environment for those visiting, including partitioned areas for private conversations with those we support. In addition to this there is a separate room which will be used for the CMA team when providing debt advice and support with budgeting.

We are now located across a number of different locations including five satellites that enable easier access to our services across Poole. Two of these sites had to close during the pandemic however will reopen once restrictions ease.

New: The Store - A New Home

During the last year we moved into the old Argos building behind The Dolphin Centre to set up The Store. This warehouse has enabled us to keep all the stock for Jimmy's and the satellites in one place. Previously this had to be kept at five different locations across the town!

Being able to keep all the stock at The Store allows more effective stock control, storage and rotation of food items. This saves time for the team.

We have also supported other local charities throughout the pandemic with bulk food deliveries from The Store.

10 food projects have been supported by The Store during the last year.

New: Links With a New Church

St James' Church have made us feel very welcome down here just off Poole Quay. We are looking forward to partnering with them to a greater extent when current restrictions ease to build a community space working alongside the church to create this.

New: A New Way of Working

Sadly we have been unable to sit and chat with our visitors over a cup of tea. However, we have been able to offer food parcels and follow this up with a friendly supportive telephone call to see if more support can be offered.

These phone calls have been crucial in supporting those who have felt isolated. This was also an opportunity to signpost to further essential support such as vouchers for shoes (adults and children), vouchers for gas and electric and referrals to debt advice.

This has demonstrated the need, as restrictions ease, for us to use Jimmy's as a space to chat with people when they come in for food. To chat through further support needed.

New: A New Challenge

Our food is now all stored in one location - the old Argos store in the Dolphin Shopping Centre. There was a lot of clearing and cleaning to be done before we could move in! This has now been completed and is fully functional as our Store for Jimmy's and all our satelittes across Poole.

This photo shows before The Store was set up!...

New: A New Food Store

...And after the refurbishment! We now have an amazing store room which enables us to manage our stock rotation and distribution much more effectively.

New: New Teams

Sadly, many of our original volunteer team were unable to support us throughout the lockdown periods, but we have recruited a great team of new volunteers who have stepped up to the plate throughout a difficult year.

The team have managed the stockrooms, made up food parcels, collected and delivered food to our satellites, met and greeted customers and adapted to all the changes due to Covid restrictions with resilience and good humour.

The support in the team has also been invaluable for the volunteers themselves as they navigate living through a pandemic. The team formed their own support bubble within their own groups with strong friendships forming within each bubble.

Our rota ensures that support bubbles rotate to provide a different team each shift. We are please to say that Poole Food Bank did not have to close a single day as we remained totally free of Covid cases.

New: A New Van & Driving Team

We have been able to purchase a van which is essential for collecting and distributing food to our satellites and to our Store.

A van requires drivers - and here they are!

New: New School Partnerships

We have been working with 17 schools across the area to ensure that local families can access additional food during the holidays when needed.

Our support included: additional food parcels in the holidays, Lockdown Vouchers - extra food for families in receipt of free school meals and those finding it difficult to afford food, Christmas and Easter craft packs.

New: A New Colleague

Jane has joined the Faithworks Team. She looks after our Food Store and all the volunteers and drivers that operate from there. She also organises the distribution of food to our satellites and partners.

Jane also oversees the teams that make up the recipe bags - she is the inspriation behind the culinary delights we give out!

Without Jane managing the Store we would not be able to function with two sites.

New: New Ideas

We believe individuals and families should not just survive on emergency food but thrive in every area of life. We therefore launched Recipe Bags during 2020. Our very popular Recipe Bags provide everything that is needed for a healthy meal on a budget and an easy to follow recipe.

We also compile Craft Bags for the school holidays to provide children with fun, affordable activities for the school holidays.

Sports Bags contain simple games such as juggling balls, skipping ropes and pedometers to help families get fit and stay fit affordably. All our packs also provide creative ways for families to spend time together away from digital forms of entertainment.

At Christmas we provided luxury toiletry sets and luxury Christmas dinners including: a fresh turkey, fresh vegetables, a dessert and cheese and crackers so families could enjoy a high quality three course Christmas lunch.

Summary: For the Coming Year New Vision & New Hope

We hope to be able to 'open up' as a cafe-style environment sometime in 2021. Our vision is to provide food and ongoing support to our local community. We would love to assist people into a position of confident living and provide the structure needed to achieve a healthy, independent life.

Supporting people with debt, budgeting, emotional support, friendship, wellbeing - holistic support to ensure the whole person thrives and therefore develops resilience to find the inner strength for independence.

Gill Payne, Poole Food Bank Manager; Alan Purchase, Deputy Manager; and Jane Harrison, Poole Food Bank Store Supervisor