Independent retailers in Soham, Cambridgeshire, have joined forces with community groups to form a Foodbank for local people in crisis.

Soham Foodbank was set up following the success of a similar scheme in nearby Ely, which has given out over 8.5t of food in its first six months.

A Foodbank provides enough non-perishable food for three days to people in need and is staffed by volunteers who sort and pack the food boxes.

Caroline Bosworth, community liaison manager for James Graven, explained how the group’s Budgens store was contributing to the Foodbank.

“We have a collection point in-store into which we donate various items as they become available, such as fresh produce which is out of date, but still edible, like carrots and potatoes, plus excess stock. We are also donating carrier bags for the food to be packed in,” she said.

“Other traders are providing transport to move the donations to the sorting and distribution facility (in our case the local church) as-well as various goods at cost such as tin openers and storage tubs.”

The partnership also includes local churches, the Children’s Centre, the town council and Ely Foodbank.

“In many ways with the current tough trading climate, community engagement is potentially the strongest weapon available to retailers and it is up to us all to be innovative in how we do this and perhaps most importantly of all, how we promote it,” Caroline added.