Newcastle West End Foodbank opened in March 2013 and has grown to be one of the largest in the UK, feeding more than 40,000 people last year.
Students from Newcastle College Health and Social Care Level 1 programme first became involved in supporting the Foodbank in 2017. Their inspiration came from a tutorial session in which they explored aspects of social deprivation and watched clips from Ken Loach’s movie about the welfare system, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, which features the West End Foodbank.
The students wanted to learn more and find out how they could help, so they took a trip to the Foodbank. Moved by what they saw, they decided to take action, by working with their tutors to raise awareness and funds, and collect food for the Foodbank. They collected boxes and collection tins. They created posters. They set up collection points across the College. And they spoke to groups of staff and students to raise awareness and encourage donations. Students of all levels became involved in collecting and sorting the food.
In two years of action, the students have raised over £750 cash (enough to feed 200 families for a week) and enough food to fill two collection vans.
The project has raised awareness of the Foodbank and the services it provides to those in need in our local community. Many students have been recipients of the Foodbank, and value the opportunity to support a cause which has helped their families.
According to Gemma Whaley, an ex-student of Newcastle College who now works at the Foodbank:
“The contribution the Health students at Newcastle College have given Newcastle West End Foodbank has proved invaluable to the work we do. We hand out an average of thirteen tonnes of food each month which has risen from nine tonnes since August 2018, therefore, Newcastle College Health students have provided a huge contribution towards this with their collections.”