Bishop Auckland Town Council has stepped in to enable the Woodhouse Close Community Foodbank to receive and distribute hundreds of free frozen meals. County Councillors have been working together with The Auckland Project and Health Express to support those facing hardship due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP and Councillors have allocated funds to help enable The Auckland Project regeneration charity to prepare frozen meals as part of its Closed Doors, Open Hearts initiative and distribute them with the help of Shildon-based Health Express and a series of community distribution hubs.
Acting on a call from local Town Councillor Dave Fleming, informing them that the local foodbank had been offered the opportunity to act as a hub and take delivery of some of the free frozen meals, but were unable to accept them because they had nowhere suitable to store them, the town council quickly stepped in and agreed to purchase a large freezer.
Councillor Joy Allen, the Mayor of Bishop Auckland Town Council said: “As soon as we were alerted to the problem the Town Council had no hesitation in supporting the Woodhouse Close Community Foodbank so they could offer local residents facing hardship a range of free frozen meals. We particularly wanted to support local business and buy the freezer from an established high street store so we approached SWITCH ON, who because of COVID-19 were closed for business, but they kindly offered to source and deliver the freezer on our behalf.”
David Rowland owner of SWITCH ON said: “We welcome the support from the town council, any business at the moment is greatly appreciated. We had sold a lot of freezers prior to the lockdown as peopled prepared for long periods at home, we hope that as soon as restrictions are lifted, people like the town council, choose to shop local and support local high street businesses.”
Liz Fisher, Engagement and Curatorial Director for The Auckland Project, said: “We are producing hundreds of frozen meals and hampers everyday as part of The Auckland Project, Closed Doors Open Hearts initiative and simply would not be able to get them out to people in the community without the help of Health Express and hubs like Woodhouse Close Community Foodbank. We would like to say a huge thank you to them, as well as all our generous donors.”
On receipt of the freezer Anne Ramshaw, Centre Manager from the Woodhouse Close Community Foodbank said: “I just want to convey my thanks to the Town Council for enabling this to happen, we are truly grateful for the unending support from them and others within the community that allows us to continue to help the most vulnerable and in need through these awful times. This was a golden opportunity we did not want to miss out on. We are extremely grateful for the Town Council’s generosity and we can now get on doing what we do best, helping those most in need. Our new freezer will allow us to distribute 100’s of free locally made frozen meals. For further information about Woodhouse Close Community Foodbank contact 01388 450 838.”
Durham County Council has established a helpline, webpage and support network to help vulnerable people in County Durham who are struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic. For more information visit www.durham.gov.uk/covid19help. You can also call 03000 260260 between 9.00am until 5.00pm weekdays and 10.00am until to 3.00pm on weekends.