'Outstanding' foodbank volunteers vow to stay strong after farewell bid

Ely Foodbank receive support from children and volunteers

Ely Foodbank volunteers have been hailed as "outstanding" by their project manager and have received help from young children and other residents along the way. - Credit: Ely Foodbank/Co-op Burwell/King's Ely

A foodbank believes more people will sign up and stay on in a bid to keep their local communities fed and supported amid challenging times. 

Ely Foodbank has been providing food and other support services to people in and around the city who have needed it most throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

Two of their workforce, centre manager Ashley and member Brenda, have recently decided to move on, but their efforts as well as other volunteers have not been ignored. 

Cathy Wright, project manager at Ely Foodbank, said: “Ashley will be missed, but it’s about all of the volunteers that have stuck in there, some since day one for nearly 10 years. 

“Brenda, led the Soham Foodbank for about eight years, and she took on looking after rural areas around Ely.  

“She became interested in people that could not reach foodbanks, so she was instrumental in setting up volunteers in the likes of Sutton, Mepal and Manea.” 

Ashley, who was centre manager for three years, like other volunteers were keen to ensure people in need could improve their lifestyle situations through the foodbank. 

Brenda, a member for around eight years, was another who wanted to provide a support network for those that were unable to reach a foodbank themselves. 

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“A lot of our volunteers are older and do incredibly well for us,” said Cathy. 

“They’ve worked through difficult times; we never closed for one week.  

Caden Fusniak of Burwell has donated items to Ely Foodbank

Ely Foodbank volunteers have been hailed as "outstanding" by their project manager and have received help from young children and other residents along the way. Pictured is Caden Fusniak who donated £80 worth of items to the foodbank. - Credit: Co-op Burwell

“A lot of them could have just worked away and it really did keep us going; Ash and Brenda were included in that.” 

Ely Foodbank said they are grateful for receiving donations, ranging from chocolates to puddings, which they assorted into 250 Christmas hampers for those most in need. 

Cathy is hoping the openings at the foodbank can be filled sooner rather than later, as a team of around 80 people aim to prepare for a possible increase in demand. 

King's Ely pupils help donate food items to Ely Foodbank

Ely Foodbank volunteers have been hailed as "outstanding" by their project manager and have received help from young children and other residents along the way. Pictured are pupils from King's Ely Junior with their Christmas collection for the foodbank. - Credit: King's Ely

“We are expecting an increase in numbers as the cost of living is getting higher,” Cathy added.  

“If people are on a low income and squeezed more, it’s a real concern. 

“Food prices are high and I think it could be tough for people.   

“But the work from our volunteers so far has been outstanding and we have some incredible people helping us.”