Foodbank’s set to feed a need in cash crisis

The new Dunstable Foodbank is now up and running, stocked with free vital supplies to stop people going hungry in a sudden short-term cash crisis.

South West Beds MP Andrew Selous and Dunstable’s deputy mayor Councillor John Chatterley officially launched the new scheme at an event in the Dunstable Conference Centre on Saturday, September 8.

And on Monday, the Foodbank team were all set to offer a helping hand to families and individuals in short-term need.

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People who need support through an immediate cash crisis can obtain special Foodbank vouchers from sources such as GPs, JobCentre Plus and social services.

Then they can visit a distribution point, to pick up enough food to cover three days in each of three weeks.

The foodbank covers Dunstable, Houghton Regis and nearby villages.

Steering committee chairman Alan Sutton, pastor of Dunstable’s New Life Church, said the support so far had been “very positive”.

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Now the team is urgently appealing for more sponsorship, donations and volunteers.

The foodbank is part of a rapidly-growing network run by the Trussell Trust charity.

When the scheme was announced, Mr Sutton explained: “It is surprising to some that there is a need for such a scheme in Dunstable.

“But the rapid spread of foodbanks across the country demonstrates how necessary they are.

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“They are there for the benefit of those in sudden crisis – where it can sometimes be a case of paying a bill or eating.”

About 20 churches are now involved in the scheme.

So far, more than 60 volunteers have offered practical help – including non-churchgoers.

There are three distribution centres in Dunstable and another in Toddington.

People must have vouchers to obtain stocks from them.

Dunstable distribution centre opening times are:

> The New Life Church, Houghton Road, Mondays 2pm-4pm; Wednesdays 11am-1pm.

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> The Way, West Street, 2.30pm-4.30pm, Tuesdays and Fridays.

> St Augustine’s Church, Oakwood Avenue, 9.30am-11.30am Thursdays.

Toddington’s distribution centre is the Wilkinson Hall at St George’s Church, 9am-11am Wednesdays.

The team has the free use of a Leighton Buzzard warehouse.

Supporters are donating items on a foodbank shopping list. Volunteers will be outside supermarkets on some days, so that shoppers can donate items on the list if they wish.

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Potential volunteers and sponsors can call 01582 248410 or check out

The shopping list is on that website. Donated foodstuffs from the list can be taken to distribution centres during the opening times given above.

> Cheques, payable to Dunstable Foodbank, can be sent to the team c/o West Street Baptist Church, West Street, Dunstable, LU6 1SX.

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