As a Stall Hire company, we’re pretty humble about what we do. We don’t like to toot our own horn, but when an opportunity to promote a valuable community resource comes along, you best believe we’re going to!
Back in August 2021, MarketStallHire.co.uk were approached by Tom of Brinsley Food Bank, looking to hire a market stall for an upcoming local fundraising event. Budgets being understandably tight, our Stall Hire team agreed to loan the stand free of charge for the occasion. This offer was quickly extended to a full month, allowing Brinsley’s dedicated volunteers to continue their fundraising work with the help of the market stall!
Events included a hugely successful bottle tombola at Eastwood Carnival that raised £277. All proceeds went towards supporting the food bank, ensuring the continuation of this vital service to those in need. Both in Brinsley as well as its surrounding villages!
Founder of the Brinsley Food Bank and local Councillor, Elizabeth Williamson says of the community-run project:
“We cover four villages, not just Brinsley: Underwood, Jacksdale and Westwood [too] … We are a little cluster of villages that hasn’t got a lot of facilities. It’s for anybody who is struggling financially or on low income, self-isolating because of covid. We’ve had referrals from Nottinghamshire County Council, from Broxtowe Women’s Project [for survivors of domestic abuse], and other food banks.“
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Food For Thought: Brinsley & it’s People
Established during the Saxon period, Brinsley has undergone huge transformations. Reaching the peak of its affluence during the coal-mining era, the Thatcherite era of the 1980’s saw a big change. It now stands as a peaceful rural village supporting an estimated 2,500 residents. And just like every town in the UK, these residents have had their struggles during the pandemic. As Ms Williamson explains, “Covid is a lot of it… I understand people being on furlough. If you’re living on the breadline and suddenly you’ve got 20% less wages, you can be in an awful mess.”
Established in April 2020, but quickly closing due to the period of lockdowns, the Brinsley food bank is now operating one day each week at the local Parish Council hall. This gives locals from Brinsley, and neighbouring villages, the chance to collect food packages that can make all the difference to their families.
“We do deliver to those who can’t get out, people who are self-isolating, or for whatever reason can’t get to us”, Ms Williamson notes, who started the project after volunteering at the Eastwood Food Bank. Upon seeing the amount of people from neighboring villages who used this service, it seemed wise to establish one closer to home.
Statistics from the Trussell Trust show that 122,726 food parcels distributed by them in the Yorkshire and Humberside region between 2020-2021. With a reported 128% increase in need for food banks reported by Trussell Trust in the last five years, one can see that the need for food banks is more prevalent than we would like to think. Especially in our affluent country. However, many people still attach a stigma to the use of food banks.
Ms Williamson reports that, whilst the community has largely been supportive of the project, there are negative comments on the community Facebook group that really highlight how far we have to go.
Educating (and Feeding) The Masses
Between the Marcus Rashford’s and the Jack Monroe’s of the world, the high-profile people fighting for the demoralised, underpaid and underfunded in our society, there are still gaps in public knowledge and understanding. Gaps that help a minority of the British public to repeat a narrative that Food Banks are negative. That those who utilise such resources are demeaning themselves, or are simply after handouts.
This is patently not true, and can be seen in Jack Monroe’s supermarket shop studies that have shown inflation raising prices of supermarket ‘basics’ items to over 100% in many cases over the last 5 five or ten years. A price increase sadly not reflected in the basic living wage.
Add to this the current pandemic, furlough and zero hour contracts: It’s not hard to see why large numbers of the population are turning to food banks in times of need.
And yet, “I know there are people in this village who would benefit from our support, who don’t come because they don’t want people to see them coming. We had one family who came who actually got abused in the street for using the foodbank, and they don’t come anymore, which is really, really sad.”
But with the support of many local volunteers, and the Stall Hire donation, Brinsley are promoting their cause one local event at a time!
Following the success of the food bank’s fundraising efforts last August, where they were able to raise £277 at the Eastwood Carnival, those at MarketStallHire.co.uk felt a permanent donation could help even more!
In January 2022 the directors of Janus Ridgeway Ltd., who operate the Stall Hire Service, have agreed with Tom to permanently donate a market stall to Brinsley Food Bank for ongoing use!
Tom of Brinsley food bank was delighted by the offer from the Stall Hire team: “we are grateful for your previous donation and this offer is absolutely wonderful.”
Ms Williamson notes that the stand at the Carnival “really stood out. It was so eye-catching and we had a lot of people come to the stall”, which gave the team a real lift!
Duncan, operations manager at MarketStallHire.co.uk explains “The service that Brinsley Food Bank has provided to those in need is clearly essential, and it seemed logical that after such a successful temporary loan of the market stall, we should follow this up with a permanent offer. Our business is local to Brinsley and I am therefore delighted that we’re able to give back to the local community”.
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What Next For Brinsley Food Bank?
Whilst the volunteers at the food back quietly continue to collect and dispense food to those in need, they have more on the horizon.
“We will be attending more carnivals and fundraising events. Since we’ve been open, there haven’t been many big events that we can attend, but hopefully things will start to open up a bit more now and we will be able to get out into the wider community to promote what we do and raise money as well.”
Whilst the donations from families and local supermarkets go so far to aid those who use Brinsley Food Bank, it is the fundraising from these events that go towards running costs. “Things like the rent and electricity… costs that you don’t always envisage when you start these projects”.
When asked about what can be done to ensure people feel empowered to ask for help from a food bank, rather than feeling shame, there only seemed to be one solution: break the stigma. We hope that this donation of the Market Stall, with volunteers spreading the word at local events, will do more to educate and assist the local communities for years to come.
Thank you Brinsley Food Bank for the valuable work you do!
Brinsley Food Bank accepts cash and food donations. They are currently very blessed with a lot of volunteers, but do enquire if you would like to donate your time.
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