Foundation Studies students from Wiltshire College & University Centre have been making a real difference in the Salisbury community by volunteering at the Salisbury Foodbank.
The students – who have a range of learning or physical difficulties – have been learning key life and employability skills while supporting the efforts of the foodbank in the process.
Students visit the site just off Wilton Road once a week, helping staff for around an hour and a half. This support provides a huge boost to the foodbank, who rely on volunteers to process all donations and get them to those in need as quickly as possible.
The students are split into sub-teams to work in the different sections of the foodbank and help out during every stage of the process. First food is separated into crates by type before it is moved into date order – ensuring that the food going out-of-date first is given out first. The food is then placed into boxes for either a single person or a family.
Maria Stevenson, Salisbury Foodbank Project Manager, said: “The students have been very welcome volunteers and it has been amazing to see their confidence grow each week. They are always very dedicated to their roles and they are making a fantastic impact, ensuring that we can get food to the people who need it.
“These kinds of skills will be so important if they want to move into something like working in a shop or supermarket. We hope that they will keep coming back.”
Student Kiera said: “I really enjoy coming to the foodbank – my favourite part is packing the boxes as it’s what people will open. It’s great that people will open the box I made for them. I hope it helps and makes them happier.”
Donna McGuirk, Deputy Head of Department for Foundation Studies at the College, said: “The students really love coming to the foodbank. This is the fourth time that the students have come and their confidence has grown, so much so that they are happy to work away from us teachers.
“They are also learning some really useful maths skills. For example, converting the numbers into months – as well as essential team building and communication skills. They work out strategies together for how to manage the work required and their friendships have grown by how they work together.
“At the College, we do try to engage in community projects as it’s important that young people understand the benefit of all working together.”
The foodbank is run by public donations that come from supermarkets, churches, schools and businesses, as well as direct to their base on the Ashfield Trading Estate.