THOUSANDS of Richmond upon Thames residents will benefit from new funding for a charity tackling food poverty in the borough.
Vineyard Community has seen demand for its foodbank soar by 65% in three years and provides emergency food supplies to 500 residents every month.
The charity founded a decade ago in the basement of the church from which it takes its name, has been awarded a £263,000 grant over five years from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.
City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:
“It’s a sad fact of modern life that people who are really struggling to make ends meet, for one reason or another, increasingly rely upon food banks in order to put food on the table.
“This funding will support Vineyard Community to build upon the success of the past decade and will secure the future of this vital service for the next five years.”
Like much of the country, Richmond Foodbank has seen sharply rising rates of food poverty, helping 5,959 people in 2022, compared to 2,353 in 2019, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.
The foodbank service works out of six locations across Richmond, operating on a voucher system run in conjunction with foodbank charity The Trussell Trust.
The City Bridge Trust funding will also support drop-in food bank sessions, home delivery to particularly vulnerable people and advice and support sessions to help people tackle the causes of food poverty.
David Logan, CEO of Vineyard Community and Richmond Foodbank, said:
“A big part of our work is to try and help people improve their circumstances, move out of crisis and experience a sense of hope, but it’s very hard for people to do that if they’re struggling to feed themselves.
“Living in food poverty impacts people’s mental health, their self-esteem and relationships, and how they see themselves. There is often a feeling of shame which causes people to withdraw and become isolated.
“People often arrive at our door feeling quite nervous, but just coming here, having a cup of tea or something to eat, receiving a warm welcome and enjoying some personal interaction can have a lasting, powerful effect.”
The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver. It awards grants of over £30 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.
It has also made an extra £200 million available over five years from 2021 to 2026 to support London’s charity sector – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk.