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DISTRICT’S MOBILE FOOD SERVICE SETS OFF

DISTRICT’S MOBILE FOOD SERVICE SETS OFF A new service providing a mobile foodbank and pantry service for areas of the Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh district has taken to the road.

Published: October 6, 2023

DISTRICT’S MOBILE FOOD SERVICE SETS OFF

A new service providing a mobile foodbank and pantry service for areas of the Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh district has taken to the road.

The service will begin by operating in several locations across the district giving easier access for people struggling to meet the increased cost of food.

A van has been kitted out with shelving, a fridge and a freezer and will be the mobile arm of the existing Shepway Foodbank, operated by Folkestone’s Rainbow Centre.

It will help residents facing an emergency who have been referred by agencies to the foodbank for free food vouchers.

The van will also deliver a mobile version of the Hythe Pantry service which has been supporting its members by offering a weekly food shop for just £5 per week.

The combined mobile foodbank and food pantry service is understood to be the first of its kind in the country and the project has been progressed by Folkestone & Hythe District Council and the Rainbow Centre. It was officially launched on Thursday (October 5) in a week that coincided with the first birthday of the Hythe Pantry Service.

The van and service has been funded by central government through a grant secured by the council from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The Trussell Trust and the Folkestone Community Works programme have also supported the innovative project.

Launching the service, Councillor Mike Blakemore, F&HDC Cabinet Member for Community and Collaboration, said: “We are delighted to see the excellent work of the food bank and pantry service expanded to make it easier for more people to get the support they need.

“This could not be done without the help of wonderful volunteers and all those who donate the food. Together they are making a wonderful contribution to their communities.”

“It is also good to hear about those who have been able to move on from the services after getting vital support and a precious lifeline at a time of difficulty in their lives.”

Rainbow Centre Chair, Dr. Peter Le Feuvre, added: “This major new project is the first of its kind in the region. It responds to a significant need identified by local communities and we are grateful for the support and collaboration of our partners.”

A money advice service and other cost-of-living support will be available at the locations visited by the mobile van. Information will also be available about other schemes for financial and wider support through the council’s Household Support Fund and Home Essentials Fund.

The project will complement the District Food Network’s (DFN) member projects such as community fridges and other upcoming initiatives including community gardens and cookery classes that address food production and food waste.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to help the service should contact the Rainbow Centre – enquiries@rainbow-centre.org or on 01303 850733.

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