Affluent village’s food bank shows impact of crisis

Food bank organisers (left to right) Glenys Newman, John Shaw, Jean Western and Muriel Reip at the launch
Food bank organisers (left to right) Glenys Newman, John Shaw, Jean Western and Muriel Reip at the launch

Hidden away in the heart of the Chilterns, Wendover is probably one of the last places you would expect people to be in need of a food bank.

Yet that is exactly what has launched in the village this week at the Wendover Christian Centre.

It would be easy to scoff at such a move given Wendover’s reputation as a prestigious place to live, but those behind the food bank are confident demand for its supplies will be high.

Dave Worrall, Chilterns food bank coordinator, said: “It’s very difficult to say how many people will use it because we know that there are local people in need but we don’t know who they are.

“The problem with crisis is that there’s a lot of hidden poverty out there. Crisis can hit anyone at any time, through redundancy, relationship breakdown or benefit delay. No one is immune.

“In places like Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield, which are more affluent than Wendover, if there was a food bank there people would use it.”

Unfortunately, on Tuesday, the first day people could have benefitted from the new service, a delay in printing vouchers prevented any supply packs from being handed out.

The Wendover food bank is part of the wider Chilterns group and the Trussell Trust, which runs more than 300 branches across the UK.

Anyone can benefit from it, they don’t have to live in the village. However, users must get a voucher from a referral agent, such as the Job Centre, a doctor or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The food bank will be open every Tuesday from 10am to midday at the Christian centre. Non-perishable food with a minimum shelf life of three months can be donated on the first Sunday of each month at St Mary’s Church in Wendover.

If demand is not instantly high, organisers believe the Welfare Reform Act will have major consequences for people in need.

Mr Worrall said: “It will effect some people in Wendover.”