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May 12th, 2014 | By | Category: Latest News

Foodbank co-ordinator Wendy Lane

A RACE against the clock for Lower Hutt’s foodbank as it searches for new premises.

Earthquake strengthening at its former home in the Horticultural Hall on Laings  Road ,has forced the foodbank to move to temporary premises across the road while they look for a  permanent home.

The foodbank which has the biggest clientele in the Wellington region is temporarily located at Te Awakairangi house until mid-July.

It will have to move out then because the council owned building is on the market.

The Lower Hutt City council is currently providing the building free of rent and is paying for the associated costs.

The foodbank provides 220 food parcels a month, and is used by 2,800 people a year , just over half of them are children.

Each parcel contains $175 worth of food donated by the wider community.

It’s estimated that overall 85% of the foodbank’s clients use it five times or less, and 45% use it just once.

Council’s offered two locations, rent-free, however after long discussions, both properties have been ruled unsuitable.

Foodbank treasurer Paul Gandar says there is a difference of opinion between the committee and council over suitable properties.

He says accessibility is always the main priority for the foodbank.

Around 50% of its clients and volunteers rely on public transport, walking or cycling to get to the foodbank.

“The truth is, expecting them to add a couple of dollars to their budget for travel is a big ask,” says Mr Gandar.

However, Lower Hutt City Council has rejected the foodbank’s funding application to cover its first years rent in their future CBD location, due to questions over the long-term sustainability of commercial rents.

The foodbank has always highlighted the importance of having a central site when discussing location options  with council, saying accessibility to other networks located nearby such as WINZ and health services is  important for its clients.

Foodbank co-ordinator Wendy Lane says they often have to refer clients further help.

So as the pressure goes on to find a suitable home, the foodbank is looking for sponsors to cover rental costs in the future.

Paul Gandar says he’s optimistic, “I’m sure that there are people out there with enough money, who will contribute to a cause such as ours.”




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