BRACKNELL Foodbank has received a generous donation from the town’s business board following a sharp increase in the number of people needing to use the service in the past year.

Bracknell Business Improvement District (BID), a partnership set up to support the town’s economy, donated £500 to the foodbank earlier this month in order to help local people experiencing hardship in the run-up to Christmas.

This comes as more than 4,500 people have been given emergency food parcels by the Foodbank throughout 2020.

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Maria Sabey, Chair of the Bracknell BID and Head of Property at Fujitsu, said: “The BID is pleased to support the local Foodbank by making a small donation to help to boost essential funds at a time when many within our community may need some additional support.

“The BID is also looking to promote ways in which others can help by safely making small donations or raising awareness.”

Bracknell Foodbank is based at the Kerith Centre on Church Road and as well as giving out nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people in financial crisis, the service also aims to help people break the cycle of poverty by putting them in touch with other local support agencies.

Claire Mather, Bracknell Foodbank manager, said: “This year we have experienced a 38 per cent increase in demand at Bracknell Foodbank, with many needing to use our services for the first time as a result of the pandemic.

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“So far this year we have provided more than 4,500 people with an emergency food parcel.

“The increased demand has brought about many logistical challenges, and we decided to install portacabins to hold our now increased stock levels.

“We are delighted to have received a donation from the Bracknell BID which we can put towards this storage solution.”

She continued: “None of us can predict the longer-term economic impact of the Covid crisis but we have been blown away by the ongoing generosity and support of the local community in response to the growing need.

“Anyone wishing to support our work can find a list of our current food needs on the Bracknell Foodbank Facebook page, and of course we are always grateful to accept monetary donations too.

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“We realise that food parcels provide only a temporary solution to those struggling, and we work closely with other ministries at Kerith Community Church where we are based (Job Club, CAP debt help, budgeting courses, addiction groups & Lifeskills courses) to help our clients to find a more permanent solution.”

The Bracknell BID was set up in April 2020 following a successful ballot by businesses in the Bracknell Southern and Western Business areas.

It is made up of approximately 255 businesses, across retail, industrial, property and technology sectors.

The BID is scheduled to run until March 2025 and aims to deliver infrastructure improvements and increased business growth and investment to the Southern and Western Business Areas.