Royston Evangelical Church in talks to take over town foodbank

PUBLISHED: 15:38 27 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:38 27 November 2019

An example of the amount of food a family of four would need for three days. Picture: Danny Loo

An example of the amount of food a family of four would need for three days. Picture: Danny Loo

Archant

The pastor of Royston Evangelical Church has said steps are being taken for them to take over the running of Royston Foodbank, after current managers announced their retirement.

Royston Foodbank will close at the end of the month. Picture: ArchantRoyston Foodbank will close at the end of the month. Picture: Archant

Andy and Viv Williams, who have run the foodbank in Market Hill since 2014, said that the closure was a "difficult but necessary decision" and that referrals would be redirected to foodbanks in Letchworth, Baldock and Cambridge while the foodbank was closed.

They have been in talks with Pastor Jonathan Scott to formally take over the running of the project, and at this stage he thinks they could open in March.

Mr Scott, who came to the church in 2013 having grown up in Saffron Walden, told the Crow: "Andy and Viv approached us and said they needed to retire and would we take this on, and we said we definitely wanted to do it.

"Our church building is small and, as we have a large congregation on a Sunday, we wouldn't have room - but we plan to move the Sunday service to Coombes Community Centre, and this will create space for the foodbank.

Royston Foodbank may reopen at the town's evangelical church. Picture: Google Street ViewRoyston Foodbank may reopen at the town's evangelical church. Picture: Google Street View

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"Andy and Viv said there has always been a generous level of donations in Royston so that's great, and we want to keep that up when we get going.

"A lot of people who responded to the news think it can just be carried on, but the reason it takes time to get going is because you need to be registered and there is lots of admin and hoops to jump through, but we are already jumping through them.

"I am scheduling a meeting next week and we will know a lot more in 10 days' time."

In happier times: The then Royston mayor Robert Smith officially opens Royston Foodbank on March 29, 2014, with a donation accepted by members of the management commitee Andy Williams, Viv Williams, Matt Hall, Audrey Hinnells and Rob Fox. Picture: Danny LooIn happier times: The then Royston mayor Robert Smith officially opens Royston Foodbank on March 29, 2014, with a donation accepted by members of the management commitee Andy Williams, Viv Williams, Matt Hall, Audrey Hinnells and Rob Fox. Picture: Danny Loo

News of the closure prompted a big reaction online after the Crow ran the story on our front page last week.

On our Facebook page, one person commented: "It would be really sad to lose the foodbanks, especially at this time."

Another said: "I used to volunteer at the Royston foodbank for Andy and Viv before I moved away last year - they have been huge assets to the local community and put in so much hard work. They are wonderful, giving people who really deserve some time for themselves after doing so much for others.

"I only hope those who have to go further afield temporarily can have some transport provided by the authorities as many cannot afford to take a bus or train to another town to get food."

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