Introducing our new Food Bank Manager!

We are delighted that Theresa Pratt begins work as the new Food Bank Manager on Monday April 29th.

Jane Perrott will remain both a trustee and a volunteer but it will be Theresa handling all the day-to-day running of the Food Bank.

Theresa comes to the Food Bank with 18 years’ experience in the charity sector, most recently at the Blue Lamp Trust, with a career which started in the Royal Navy and then embraced software and business management.

She is a highly-efficient administrator and manager, who has recruited and trained volunteers alongside managing other paid staff.

She is familiar with all the policy issues that an operation like ours needs to monitor.

She is now looking forward to a part-time role which will enable her to support her local community.

AGM Report

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

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.

OUR APPROACH

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.

NUMBERS

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.

THANK YOUS

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.

NEW CHAIR

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.

Annie

Join us for the 2024 Annual General Meeting

You are invited to the 9th Annual General Meeting of the Meon Valley Food Bank on Monday 18th March to be held at Wickham Community Centre, Mill Lane, Wickham, Hampshire PO17 5AL

Doors will open at 6.30 to tour our operation and also visit the new Citizens Advice office.  The formal meeting will start at 7.15.

Citizens Advice are joining us this year to help us see the Food Bank operation in the wider context of local need. Our view is necessarily limited; theirs is much wider.

If you would like to come, please contact us to reserve your space.

Supporting the food bank as a trustee

The Meon Valley Food Bank is currently run entirely by volunteers.  It is open for 2 days per week, with a short Christmas break, and operates out of the Wickham Community Centre, PO17 5AL.  On Monday, from 9.30-12.00, food is collected/delivered to us, marked for expiry-date, and stored appropriately. On Tuesdays, from 9.30-12.00 and 12.00-2.00pm, clients either collect in person or have their food delivered to them.  Our catchment extends from Colden Common to Whiteley, and from Droxford and E and W Meon to Knowle.

It was founded in 2015 with a vision to reflect the love and grace of Jesus by supporting people in our local community who, for whatever reason, were struggling to get by. That remains our driving principle. Demand for our support has risen exponentially in the last two years.

We distribute a generous mix of dried and tinned goods which are sufficient to support one person (adult or child) for an entire week. Clients are, largely, referred to us by a wide network of agencies. We try and walk a line between meeting need without judgement and not encouraging dependency upon our provision.  Many clients have used us for a time and then ceased to need our support.

We are looking to expand the professional base amongst the trustees.  After a period of consolidation, following the disruption of Covid, our move to the Wickham Community Centre and Mike Salter’s retirement as Chair, we are looking for individuals who will strengthen and broaden our impact as a charity. 

We particularly seek people with financial expertise; strong IT skills; HR or team-management experience; and those who may have worked in the charity sector or in social services.

We expect to appoint a Food Bank Manager in the immediate future and to ensure appropriate administrative support for that person, either in a voluntary or a paid capacity. With over 150 clients typically per month and the need to buy additional food from supermarkets, a 25-strong volunteer base and all that you would expect regarding attention to best-practice and good governance, it is no longer fair to ask for all those hours of work to be given voluntarily. 

Expectations of trustees

The trustees expect to meet up to six times a year.
We are committed to maintaining the Christian ethos of the charity and are also advocates for the work of the Foodbank in the community.
We think it would be hard to work as a trustee without regular monthly engagement with at least one of our operational sessions in the week. This will require you to be available either for a morning session or between 12 and 2 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Clearly, this may need to be a matter for discussion and whilst we don’t want to prevent applications from people with the skills we need, we are a hands-on operation that needs to be engaged with to be properly understood.

We will be delighted to welcome potential applicants to the Wickham Centre on either a Monday or a Tuesday and current trustees look forward to meeting you as you consider whether to apply.  In the first instance, please send an expression of interest to

jobs@meonvalleyfoodbank.co.uk


To apply
Please email jobs@meonvalleyfoodbank.co.uk with a word document stating:

Your name
Your address
Your email address
Your mobile number

Please also give us a summary of your professional experience and the particular skills which that enables you to bring to the food bank.  We recognise that not everyone is paid for the job(s) that they do!

We would also appreciate understanding your availability in a normal week/month and any constraints on your time, particularly with regard to our operational days.

Ultimately, we may seek the contact details of 2 people to act as referees on your behalf.

Food Bank Manager Job Specification

BACKGROUND

Since first opening its doors in 2015, the Meon Valley Food Bank has established itself as a highly regarded and well managed charity serving a wide area of the Meon Valley.  The food bank is based at the Wickham Community Centre

In the last 2 to 3 years the food bank has experienced considerable growth and is now at a point where it wishes to appoint a new Manager.  The role, as detailed below, calls for someone to provide leadership as the organisation continues to develop in the context of current and future economic and social developments.

THE POSITION

Responsible to the Trustees for:

Operations

  • The day-to-day management of the food bank.  This will involve undertaking some tasks throughout the week.  Note: The core operating hours are Monday between 9 am and noon for the receipt of food and Tuesday between 9 am and 2 pm for the distribution of food parcels
  • Ensuring that all email and phone enquiries are dealt with expeditiously
  • Publishing a weekly “shortage” list via email and making a regular online supermarket order/ trip to a local large foodstore to ensure suitable supplies of food and other essential items
  • Overseeing the receipt of donated food items and supermarket orders: checking that food is “in date” and marked-up plus its careful and correct storage – done largely by volunteers under your supervision.
  • Overseeing the preparation of food parcels and arranging collection or delivery.  Note:  At present the foodbank deliveries are supported by the Rotary Club who provide a vehicle and driver. There are also other insured drivers amongst volunteers and trustees.
  • Overseeing the referral process to ensure that a regular review of users take place and food bank dependency is not created

Volunteers

  • The recruitment, training and ongoing development of the volunteer team in line with agreed policies ensuring accurate records are kept, including when training has been completed
  • Managing speculative volunteer applications
  • Ensuring that all aspects of the food bank operation are compliant with, in particular, data protection, health and safety and safeguarding best practice
  • Using the Volunteer What’sApp group to keep people informed

Note: one volunteer has a defined role providing administrative support.

Management, Administration and Finance

  • Maintaining appropriate records and ensuring they are maintained in a secure environment
  • Managing Petty Cash, including receipt of donations made during operating hours, and liaising with the Treasurer re all expenditure receipts
  • Liaising with the Webmaster to ensure the food bank website is interesting and up to date
  • Working with referral agents and other support organisations to ensure clients have access to appropriate advice.
  • Providing information to donors, and other interested parties, on the needs and performance of the food bank ensuring they have information that is useful to their own audience
  • Working with the Trustees to identify areas of concern and possible growth opportunities/new initiatives
  • Using every opportunity to raise the profile of the food bank eg through articles in relevant publications or giving talks to interested groups

General

It is essential that the Food Bank Manager ensures:

  • that all internal relationships are based on openness, honesty, trust and respect
  • that all discrimination and prejudice is dealt with in line with foodbank policies the moment it becomes apparent
  • that all contact with clients is made in the open and in the presence of another volunteer
  • that all contact with clients is kept professional and that no offers of personal help are given, be they practical or financial.

THE PERSON

  • Comfortable working in a Christian environment.  The Meon Valley Food Bank is church-led with the trustees all being committed Christians
  • Will have real concern for the problems of food poverty in society and our local area
  • Sensitive and empathetic
  • Well organised and concerned for detail, able to cope with multiple tasks across the full spectrum of food bank activities
  • Able to work on own initiative but also to provide leadership and support to the volunteer team that currently numbers between 20 & 25
  • Numerate and able to work closely with the Treasurer.  Note:  The food bank is a Registered Charity and therefore its financial affairs are highly regulated with a need to produce annual reports and accounts.
  • Computer literate – totally comfortable using Outlook, Word and Excel.  The food bank has an online database and cloud document storage.  IT support is provided.
  • Excellent communication skills, able to represent the charity at community events as required either as a guest or as a speaker
  • Previous experience of working within the voluntary/charity sector is desirable
  • Car owner/driver

HOURS EXPECTED

  • We expect this will require 15 – 20 hours per week
  • We expect to pay £25 per hour, depending upon experience should the manager wish to be paid

The Future

It is anticipated that further structural changes to the food bank operation may become necessary including the appointment of other key staff.  The Food Bank Manager will play a key part in identifying needs and implementing changes.

Food bank manager job opportunity

FOOD BANK MANAGER
The Meon Valley Food Bank is a well-established and respected charity providing support to people across a wide area of the Meon Valley. Based at the Wickham Community Centre, the food bank opens each Monday and Tuesday for the receipt of food donations and the distribution of food parcels, with the majority of supporting administration done outside of those sessions.

To date the food bank has been entirely run by volunteers, many of whom are from local churches. The last few years have seen demand for our service increase substantially and the Trustees believe the time has come to appoint a paid Manager.

This is a critical appointment, and we are seeking someone to provide clear leadership as the food bank continues to develop in response to changing economic and social circumstances.


Key responsibilities include:

  • the day-to-day management of the food bank utilising the skills and experience of the volunteer team
  • placing and managing a regular online supermarket order to ensure there is sufficient stock on the shelves
  • responding to email and phone enquiries
  • working closely with referral agencies and other support organisations
  • building relationships with individuals and other food donors such as schools, churches and local businesses
  • developing the food bank’s profile through the website and undertaking presentations to local organisations
  • working closely with the Treasurer and other Trustees on the forward planning and development of the food bank

To be successful in this role you will need to: want to support people experiencing food poverty; be comfortable working in a Christian environment; be fully computer literate (Outlook, Word and Excel); be accustomed to leading a small team. Experience of working with volunteers in the charity sector would be an advantage.

Initially we believe the role will require a minimum of 15 hours per week but this will be discussed and agreed with the successful candidate. It will also be subject to regular review.

Please address your application including a CV and the contact details of 2 referees, one of whom should ideally be a professional with whom you have worked, to Annie Thomas, Chair at:

Meon Valley Food Bank, Wickham Community Centre, Mill Lane, Wickham PO17 5AL
Email: jobs@meonvalleyfoodbank.co.uk

You are welcome to arrange a confidential meeting with one or more of the Trustees as you consider whether to apply. Please use the above email address to request such a meeting.

CLOSING DATE: Applications will close on Monday 4th March 2024

See food bank manager job spec