Not for Profit

Published: April 28, 2020 | Updated: April 28, 2020

Dorset Biz News round-up: Bournemouth Foodbank, Citygate Church, Julia’s House, Henbury View First School, Dorset HealthCare

Emergency food being prepared at the Citygate Community Hub. Picture: Naftel’s Photography.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Citygate Church opens doors to food bank

A Bournemouth church building has reopened as a food bank while the congregation meet online.

The Citygate Community Hub is now a distribution centre for Bournemouth Foodbank.

It is also home to a warehouse where food donations are sorted, stored and packed into emergency food parcels ready for local families and individuals in crisis.

The Citygate Centre, sited close to Bournemouth Station, is normally host to a Sunday morning congregation of up to 500 people and numerous midweek groups.

Large corporate and community events take place in the spacious auditorium and adjacent seminar rooms.

However, since public meetings ended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the building had stood empty while the church community meets online.

Sunday celebrations are streamed on YouTube and midweek gatherings are hosted on Zoom including an online Alpha course.

Russell White, Leader of Citygate Church preached from his living room on Easter Sunday to a larger online audience than could normally fit in the church building.

But now the doors are open again – not for meetings, but for people in crisis.

Where there were usually rows of seating, there are crates of food.

Volunteers are able to use the space to their advantage, observing social distancing while they pack food parcels and greet visitors to the Community Hub.

Food banks are reporting that while food insecurity is on the rise, they are struggling to manage the demand without risking their volunteer workforce and the public to further exposure to the virus.

Debbie Coombes, Bournemouth Foodbank’s Director, said the new warehouse and distribution centre was very welcome.

She added: “It’s really important that clients have somewhere safe to come and collect their emergency food from.

“Bournemouth now has a total of six food banks overseen by the Trussell Trust or Faithworks Wessex.

“Unfortunately, many of our volunteers have had to self isolate for their own safety and we can only have so many working in the warehouse to allow for social distancing.

“This is why we asked Citygate Church to help take some of the load.”

Anyone unable to afford food because of the Covid-19 crisis or for some other reason can ask for a food bank voucher from any of the local agencies listed on the Bournemouth Foodbank website here.  ​


Acclaimed author becomes Julia’s House Patron

Acclaimed espionage author, John le Carré, best known for his novels Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, is to become a Patron of Julia’s House, the Dorset and Wiltshire children’s hospice charity.

The author was invited to join the charity’s board of Patrons after he attended the Julia’s House Carols by Candlelight service in Shaftesbury at Christmas.

Born in Poole and educated at Sherborne School in Dorset, John le Carré taught French and German at Eton after attending the University of Bern and Lincoln College, Oxford.

He served briefly in British Intelligence during the Cold War, and it was during this time that he wrote his first novel, Call For The Dead, which introduced his most famous recurring character – the fictional intelligence officer, George Smiley.

Le Carré’s twenty-six books have been published in over 50 countries and 40 languages and continue to be loved by audiences around the world.

His latest book Agent Running in the Field, published last October, is a classic spy thriller and a chilling portrait of our time.

Mr le Carré said: “Julia’s House has a rare and special claim on me that I find hard to describe – perhaps it is to do with having been so lucky in our own family, with one or two minor exceptions when compared to the brave, sad misfortunes that Julia’s House confronts daily.

“I am very honoured to be asked to become a Patron of the charity.”

Martin Edwards, Chief Executive of Julia’s House, added: “We are absolutely delighted that John has accepted our invitation and we look forward to working with him again very soon.

“Our Patrons play a hugely valuable role in sharing the work of Julia’s House and the life-changing difference we make to local families every day.”

The vital care provided by Julia’s House is funded almost entirely by the local community through fundraising activities, donations and Gifts in Wills.

The charity receives just five per cent government funding in Dorset and none at all in Wiltshire.


School delivers tasty treats to hospital staff

Staff at Henbury View First School in Corfe Mullen have been baking special treats for Dorset’s NHS staff to show their support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alderney Hospital’s Herm Ward staff with baked treats from Henbury School in Wimborne.

Cakes, cookies and quiche have been delivered to the Dorset HealthCare-run Alderney Hospital in Poole over the past few weeks.

Baked treats have also been distributed to St. Ann’s Hospital in the town and Poole Hospital’s intensive care unit, where a number of Dorset HealthCare staff are working to support the local acute hospital team.

In addition, the school donated Easter eggs to dedicated staff at Bridport Hospital, and pupils made thank-you cards to show their appreciation.

Chris Clarke, Herm Ward Manager at Alderney Hospital, said: “We would like to say a big thank you to Henbury View First School for their generosity.

“It means so much to our staff who are working selflessly round the clock to care for patients.”

Jane Clarke, Headteacher at Henbury View First School, said: “We wanted to provide our thanks to our local community hospitals for the fantastic work they are doing at this time.

“We are very glad to hear the teams are enjoying the goodies.”