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Gillingham Foodbank
Presentation of the cheque to Gillingham Foodbank, left to right, Dan Faulkner, Neil MacBean, Nigel Penny.

Golfers from a charity based in Gillingham have raised £2,000 towards two local charities who help people struggling with the rising cost of living.

The players from the Wyke Amateur Golf Society – WAGS for short – play matches throughout the year at various courses in which they raise money for charity.

Then each January they decide on the good causes to which they will donate the money. This year they have chosen The Vale Pantry and the Gillingham Foodbank.

The Vale Pantry is a community food store helping those who are financially disadvantaged access food each week. However, whilst food is the primary reason for people visiting The Pantry each week, its volunteers also work with the families on the many underlying issues that have led to food poverty.

These include debt, illness, homelessness, unemployment, domestic violence, mental health issues and learning disabilities. Though based in Sturminster Newton, The Pantry can be accessed by anyone living in North Dorset.

The Gillingham Foodbank is a charity established under the auspices of Trussell Trust, and was set up in December 2011 to provide a minimum three days worth of emergency food to people facing a crisis.

Neil MacBean from the charity says: ‘Since that time, we have distributed more than 225 tonnes of emergency food. Last calendar year we supplied 694 emergency food parcels, feeding 1,092 adults and 704 children. By far the biggest cause of need was not earning enough to make ends meet – low income – followed by benefit difficulties.

He adds: ‘The Foodbank operates with the help of some 45 volunteers – packers, sorters, drivers, listening ears – from various walks of life. We have no paid employees so, aside from necessary running costs, all monies raised are used to support the aims of the charity.’

WAGS has now raised more than £28,000 in total for local charities and good causes.

WAGS captain Dan Faulkner explained this year’s choice of charities. ‘During our AGM in January it became apparent that the subject at the forefront of everyone’s minds was the huge increase in the cost of living and how families who were already finding it hard were going to be able to cope, this was reflected in the way our members voted as can be seen by the chosen charities.

‘Each charity received £1000 and with the increase in fuel bills looming it was decided to make the donations as soon as we were able instead of waiting for our presentation day as we would have done before Covid,’ says Dan.

How to help Gillingham Foodbank. Neil MacBean says: ‘Please visit our website at gillingham.foodbank.org.uk to see what we currently need (at the moment it’s UHT fruit juice, sponge puddings and tinned meat in particular) and if you need our help, or would just like to find out more, please email [email protected].’

To find out more or donate to The Vale Pantry, please visit https://www.valepantry.co.uk.

Vale Pantry
Presentation of the cheque to The Vale Pantry, left to right, Mark Burton, Dan Faulkner, Nigel Penny, Carole Jones, Trevor Legg.
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