Stratford Food Bank braces itself for increased demand this autumn - The Stratford Observer

Stratford Food Bank braces itself for increased demand this autumn

Stratford Editorial 9th Aug, 2022   0

THE FOOD bank in Stratford is going from strength to strength since moving to the Fred Winter Centre – but donations are needed more than ever.

Last month Stratford Food Bank reported its shelves were looking bare but thanks to a rallying effort from the local community, their stock levels are back up and their warehouse is looking healthier.

But it is not the time to get complaisant, say food bank organisers, especially with predictions that the cost of living crisis could bite extra hard in the autumn.

Next on the list for donations is much-needed cleaning products and toiletries. These items are just as important as food and can be expensive to buy. Donations of items such as shaving foam, shampoo, wipes, cleaning products, childrens’ dental products, fruit juice, deoderant, powdered milk and razors are all welcome from the public.

While food bank operations manager Zoe Ballinger said moving to the Fred Winter Centre has really helped, as it allows them to run a more “coherent” service. The Fred Winter Centre in Guild Street sits on the site of the former Fred Winter department store and was converted into a homeless centre last summer.

Zoe explained: “We are now very settled in Fred Winter Centre and I believe our new location really helps us provide a more coherent service for our clients. We work closely with Spring Housing who run the centre and some of the commissioned agencies such as P3 who do amazing work to support the homeless, as well as Mind and Stratford District Council. I hope we can build on these relationships as time passes with the aim of supporting people more holistically.

“We have an ongoing relationship with CASW who provide financial inclusion and money advice services to clients on our behalf. This service is wholly funded by the food bank and has now been running for over a year. The help that we can provide via this service is invaluable for clients in crisis.

“I believe this will become even more crucial as we move towards the autumn period with the threat of higher living costs. We have been fortunate to secure funding for additional support workers for this service so our capacity extends from September onwards.”

Zoe continued: “My mind is now moving towards harvest and the autumn period and latterly Christmas. This is an important time for us to further bolster stocks and I believe this autumn we will need it more than ever. We also have our annual Christmas Food Drive and the ever popular Christmas Hampers we provide to families nominated by the agencies we work with. This is a highlight in our calendar and an opportunity to work with the community.

“If you are interested in volunteering for us as an individual or as part of an organisation perhaps, do contact us.”

Donations can be made by visiting

Online Editions

Catch up on your local news by reading our e-editions on the Stratford Observer.

Public Notices

View and download all of the public notices in the Stratford Observer.


Receive a weekly update to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter.


We can provide all of your printing needs at competitive rates.