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The Colchester Foodbank is bringing the Foodbank to the People in Stanway

22 Jun The Colchester Foodbank is bringing the Foodbank to the People in Stanway

The Colchester Foodbank is offering a heartfelt open invitation to all to attend a socially distanced opening of the new Stanway Foodbank Satellite on Tuesday 23 June at 11am. The Colchester Foodbank volunteers, together with specially invited guests and members of the St Albright’s Church PCC and community will come together to celebrate the cutting of the ribbon ceremony by the Worshipful, Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Nick Cope.

In attendance will also be the Mayoress of Colchester, Elizabeth Silverwood-Cope, Rev’d Tony Bushell, Priest In Charge, St Albrights, Stanway, Rev’d Wendy Pagden, Pioneer Minister, Stanway, and Michael Beckett, Chief Officer of Colchester Foodbank.

Michael Beckett, Chief Officer of Colchester Foodbank said, “With Social Distancing rules we simply don’t have the capacity to run the Foodbank as we did before, in the space we have. For over a decade the Foodbank has helped those in need, and we know for some getting to the Foodbank has been extra difficult for those living to the North and West of Colchester. So we are bringing the Foodbank to the people who need it by opening Stanway Foodbank. This simply wouldn’t have been possible without an army of volunteers being trained and planning to make this happen in Stanway, and support from local churches specifically St Albrights and local supermarkets and organisations like the Rotary Club of Colchester, the Stanway Garden Centre and Stanway Rovers.”

Practising “giving us your daily bread” has taken on a new meaning for the St Albrights church. Rev’d Wendy Pagden, Pioneer Minister in Stanway, explained, “Volunteering for Colchester Foodbank close to the beginning of Lockdown has been one of the best things I could have done, both for me and for the people in my community. As a priest and Pioneer Minister in Stanway I am called to love God and to love my neighbour. Every day I pray these familiar words from the Lord’s prayer: ‘Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…’ and every day, I ask myself the question, ‘what does that mean in practice?’. Part of the response to that prayer, especially in this time of great need during and after the coronavirus, is our opening of the Stanway Foodbank Satellite. When the Coronavirus hit and we all found ourselves in Lockdown, I was trying to make sense of my life and vocation. My calling to proclaim the love of God in word and deed in the community of Stanway, suddenly looked very different and difficult to do. Usually, this happens naturally in chance encounters or in gathered groups – in coffee shops, in halls, in schools and in church. None of that would be possible during lockdown, and Zoom isn’t quite the same! My heart went out to the people who found themselves in real need, without the support of jobs, schools, extended family and community around them, especially those in need of food. Active giving and practical help came through the Foodbank where I joined the team collecting the generous donations from Sainsbury’s and Stanway Co-op, and packing food parcels which were given to the people with food vouchers who needed them. After a few weeks, Mike, the CEO of the Foodbank, spoke to me about the possibility of facilitating the opening of a Foodbank Satellite in Stanway, to serve the South West of Colchester and surrounding area. So the process of finding a venue and gathering a group of volunteers together began.”

The new Stanway Foodbank is located at Saint Andrew’s Hall on the corner of Church Lane and London Road, opposite St Albright’s Church, Stanway CO3 8LR initially it will open every Tuesday from 11am to 1pm. The Rev. Tony Bushell, Priest in Charge, Stanway, says: “I am very pleased that our hall can be used for this very important purpose. When it was rebuilt and refurbished just over ten years ago and dedicated to St. Andrew it was intended that the hall be for use of the whole community of Stanway as well as for the church. That is the function it performs today and, whilst it is unfortunate that Foodbanks are needed, I can think of no better place for this new satellite to be located.”