AGM Report

Report given by Annie at the Meon Valley Food Bank AGM 18th March 2024 at the Wickham Community Centre


The first thing I want to say is how grateful we are to be operating out of the Wickham Community Centre. It has become a hub for local service providers. 

With the Pantry, Home Start, and all the excellent community ventures run by the Centre itself, it’s a real hive of activity here and it works very well for us to be a part of that. 

We already worked closely with Citizens Advice when their local office was in Bishop’s Waltham and are delighted that has recently moved here too.

I know that having to move in the midst of Covid was a nail-biter but now we definitely see God’s grace in putting the Food Bank here.


I thought, secondly, that I should say a bit about how we approach what we do.

We do tread a fine line.  Thanks to your generosity we are able to give a generous package of tinned and dried goods sufficient to feed an individual for one week.

We endeavour to help clients to get themselves formally referred by an external agency – often Citizens Advice, but also specialist housing providers, health visitors, schools…

This helps ensure people are in receipt of the government support to which they are entitled but it also helps prevent the MVFB becoming too easy an option re basic needs. 

Not everyone can handle this so we do have a few clients (known to us) who refer themselves.

We conduct an annual review of our most regular clients, asking them to get themselves re-referred. 

We are happy to be generous – and we’d rather be generous than judgemental – but we absolutely do not want to build dependency into our client relationships.  And indeed we also recognise we need to watch our vulnerabilities as carers, who may ‘over-invest’. 

As David Proud reminds us regularly, we look for the day when we aren’t needed.

Interestingly, we do see a small but significant number of former clients each month whose personal data becomes anonymised in our system because they have not approached us for the previous year.


The following was shown largely in slides on the night.

We have seen a steady increase in the number of households helped each month.  Some of these are individuals on their own, others are households with anything up to 6 children.

Some we help regularly (our aim is no more than twice per month) and some only occasionally. At no point in the past year did we drop below 30 households helped per month.

For 9 months of the year, it was 40 or considerably more and in December it was over 80.

If you translate that into bags of food loaded, that represents a very significant  gift of time and hard work by our volunteers.

To put that slightly differently, in each of November and December 2021, we supported 13 households. In each of November and December 2022, we supported 37 households. In November 2023, we supported 45 households and in December 2023, we supported 81 households.

We are also helping higher numbers of children. Almost every month in 2023 showed an increase over 2022 and the total over the year was 330 higher.


It is hard to do justice in a report like this to all the time that is given via the Food Bank.

Thank you to those of you who faithfully collect and deliver food to the centre.

Thank you to those of you who have made special collections for the Food Bank at Harvest, at Christmas, when you have run particular events. If you don’t monitor the News section of our website, do have a look at the autumn’s postings.

Thank you to Rotary, who provide drivers to enable us to make deliveries – invaluable help.
Thank you to the churches and individuals who make financial donations.  Without you, we would not be able to make the (large) twice-monthly supermarket orders which are essential to our operation.

And thank you to our volunteers.  There are c 20 people who faithfully enable what we do. For those of you who haven’t seen the floor on an Asda Monday – covered in crates and with other bags of goodies coming in as well – it’s quite a sight!

Somehow it all gets marked up and stored. And equally, when we have had 20 or more separate orders to meet on a Tuesday, the ‘cupboard’ team, supported by the phone team and the delivery team, are amazingly efficient.

From one perspective, our operation is straightforward:  food in (largely on a Monday) & food out on a Tuesday.  As the Meerkat would say:  Simples.  But, to support that and to ensure best-practice in a number of respects, the ‘behind-the-scenes’ operation is considerable.

It has been recognised for a while that it is no longer sustainable for that to be done in a voluntary capacity.  Again, thanks to those of you who give financially, we are in a position to appoint a paid manager. Following a successful campaign, I’m delighted to say that we are in the final stages of appointing someone who will take on that role in the near future. As Andy pointed out, we have sufficient savings to fund that for 2 years and we trust our appointee will successfully ensure financial underpinning of her/that role in the longer term.

Jane Perrott with the Mayor of Winchester

Which brings me to my final Thank you.   Jane Perrott recently received richly-deserved recognition from the Mayor of Winchester for the 9 years of devoted service she has given to the Food Bank.

Her contribution has grown exponentially over the years, mirroring the growth in service provision.  Her wise pastoral-heart and her management of all the many interfaces have contributed hugely to making the Food Bank the trusted operation that it is.

It’s her success in the role which means we need a formal appointment – and she needs a well-earned chance to step back and give more time to her family as well as enjoy her husband Graham’s imminent retirement. 

I’m delighted to say, she will remain a trustee and a volunteer so we won’t lose her knowledge and skills.


There is one last thing I want to say before I hand over to Ally Chatterley, Citizens Advice Services Lead in our area and Graham Phillpotts, who is a volunteer supervisor and a debt adviser, who have been asked to help us see the operation of the Food Bank in its wider local context. 

When I took over as Chair from Mike Salter last year (another devoted servant of the Food Bank), I did so because I could see a short-term contribution I could make in collating all the information in individuals’ heads and creating a platform such that a Manager could come in and a new Chair could be appointed to take the Food Bank forward.

There are real areas of interest and opportunity to be explored. Like Jane, I’m in the middle of a large and growing family. I am not the person to Chair the next phase of development. 

So, when we notify you of a new appointment, it will be a cause for celebration rather than concern.  It’s planned for; it’s being prayed for.  Please help us identify the right people in our community to come on board as trustees and holders of key positions.

Thank you for your partnership with us.