“There’s always been community spirit here. Siloth’s a lovely town, it’s a seaside resort and we’ve a big local green where people go walking. Now this will stay as a big part of our town too.
“We set up the Community Hub at the end of 2020 – a couple of local businesses all got together to provide food for the children who weren’t getting free school meals. It all evolved from there.
“We open three days a week running a ‘take what you need, pay what you can’ shop and we’d like to do five-days-a-week soon.
“We couldn’t do it without the Food Redistribution Centre – they’re our main supplier. It’s very varied what goods we get. There are things that are such a treat and the fruit and veg always goes down well.
“We explain to people that is food that’s been rescued from going to waste. Knowing that does help people to come forward and take the food. These are people who never thought they’d have to go to a food bank.
“We’re helping a real broad spectrum of people – families where a parent’s been furloughed, people who are shielding or self-isolating, people struggling with their benefits.
“A lot of our volunteers throughout lockdown were those who’d been furloughed or who’d had to close their businesses so it was good for their mental health to be doing something. We had one volunteer who’d not seen his wife for a year as she’s in a care home, so he loved volunteering, getting out and helping others.
“It’s been an amazing, uplifting experience for everyone involved – the community’s really come together.”
Vicky Hope – Secretary, Siloth Community Hub, Cumbria