David Drew MP visits Stroud District Foodbank and The Grace Network
Stroud District Foodbank and The Grace Network provide vital resources for people in the Stroud constituency who are struggling to make ends meet. I work closely with them to support constituents in need and recently visited their base in Brimscombe to discover more about the amazing work they do. Sadly, due to the policies of the current government and the programme of austerity they have implemented, I have seen more and more Stroud District residents having to depend upon these services; this is simply unacceptable.
The team at Stroud District Foodbank are an inspiration and refuse to accept that anyone in our community should have to face going hungry. They are an invaluable resource, providing three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. We discussed the impact food poverty has on people’s lives, and, with it being the summer holidays, we also spoke about the issue of holiday hunger which we agreed was a significant problem that is becoming ever more widespread.
I was also able to meet some of the wonderful staff at the Stroud District Furniture Bank, a service that was set up with the aim of helping families and individuals in need by offering quality used furniture and appliances at an affordable price. The Furniture Bank source all their items from other members of the community, in the process ensuring that any unwanted furniture, appliances and bric-a-brac don’t go to waste. They offer a removal service so please do consider contacting them if you have anything you could donate; it is a very worthy cause. I was hugely impressed to see the work the Furniture Bank are doing and particularly enjoyed learning about the efforts they have made to help unemployed members of our community through their creation of apprenticeships and flexible employment opportunities.
Stroud District Kids Stuff share the warehouse space as well. I was fortunate to learn about the ways in which they are providing support for the most vulnerable children in our district and their passion for empowering mothers in particular to improve their current situations. I spoke to them about their vision and their work helping families in the Stroud District to pass on their gently used children’s items to each other. They understand that everyone needs a bit of help sometimes and they are clear in wanting to build a sense of belonging, sharing and community so people who are struggling can get the help they need without stigma.
The site is also home to The Long Table project. They are working to redefine how we eat and are starting this by hosting pop up community meals every Thursday between 12-2pm. The project is very worthwhile and is engaging with local youngsters keen to know more about the world of food, drink and hospitality.
Unfortunately, the current site housing these much-needed organisations is endangered by the development of the Brimscombe Port. I am hopeful however that they can find a suitable new location, as losing these valuable assets that give so much to our community would be a huge loss.