Bassetlaw community response to food poverty during the pandemic

by | 27 December 2020 | Local Charity, Retford, Support Group, Worksop

Having recently started as the new manager of Bassetlaw Food Bank I felt that this was a great time to reflect on the fantastic work the Bassetlaw community has done in response to the local impact of the pandemic. The food bank had seen growing demand for its services ahead of the pandemic that hit the country in the spring of 2020. The impact of the crisis was massive both on supplies for the food bank to operate and on volunteer numbers. This meant there was a danger they could not meet the needs of the community. Then something wonderful happened. The Bassetlaw Community and Volunteer Services (BCVS), Centre for Sports and Learning (CSL) in Manton, and Bassetlaw District Council, all joined together with Bassetlaw Food Bank to create an Emergency Food Hub. This meant there was a central place to cope with the situation and to be there for people in crisis or impacted by the pandemic.
This project involved creating a brand new food hub that was large enough to cope with demand (a completely new way of operating due to the restrictions imposed during the lockdown) and able to source food for people when the panic buying was impacting food donations. Each of the organisations played a massive part in making the food hub work, with many people doing jobs way out of their comfort zones (one day you are working in the parks department, the next day you are delivering food parcels!). And then there are the volunteers that have stepped up to help, from previous members of the food bank team, ex-military personnel, First Responders and people on furlough. Everyone has been amazing and just got stuck in. The net result is that since the pandemic started the Food Hub has helped over 9,000 people throughout the Bassetlaw district.
This has only been possible due to the generosity of the people of Bassetlaw making donations, the wonderful volunteers who make it happen and the support of BCVS, CSL and Bassetlaw District Council. A massive thank you to all of you. Though this has been a real challenge as a new Food Bank Manager; the support has made this a stunning example of the importance of communities working together.
I know the work of the food bank will need to carry on as the impact of 2020 rolls into 2021. The legacy left behind from the collaboration and community support means I am confident the Bassetlaw Food Bank will continue to support those in need in our community with emergency food parcels. But equally important, the food bank can work with other agencies to tackle food poverty in our district. If you wish to support our work with donations we have a Just Giving page (there is a link on the donate button on, or you can get in touch via email to or via the Bassetlaw Food Bank Facebook page for details on how to donate food or to volunteer. Keep a lookout for donation spots at local supermarkets and other community organisations. Thank you Bassetlaw, and here’s hoping 2021 is a little better than 2020.
Robert Garland
Food Bank Manager