Shaw foodbank open as Leisure Centre becomes food distribution centre

THE Churches Together operated foodbank based at the Salvation Army on Farrow Street East, Shaw is OPEN.

It was initially reported all food distribution would take place from Oldham’s main town centre leisure centre run by Oldham Community Leisure (OCL).

However, it has now been confirmed the Shaw site, as well as other satellite foodbank locations, can continue to operate within acceptable social distancing restrictions.

Oldham Leisure Centre

The Army centre is open on Mondays from 11am until 2pm.

Salvation Army’s Major Nigel Tansley said: “We are grateful for all the donations we have received from everyone.

Initially when OCL centres closed, including Royton Leisure Centre, OCL all stocks from its vending machines went to the Oldham Foodbank.

Since then and led by Community Development & Partnership Manager, Kelly Tattersall, the OCL team has turned Oldham Leisure Centre into a distribution centre for Oldham Foodbank.

Kelly said: “We haven’t been able to serve our community in the way we would usually, by helping them to stay active. So, we moved our resources to help our community where it needs us most.

“My team and I helped pick up and deliver emergency food parcels and then set up Oldham Leisure Centre’s Sports Hall as a distribution centre for larger items for Oldham Foodbank.

“Voluntary, faith, statutory and private organisations across Oldham have been working together in partnership.

“This is a real Oldham approach to Covid-19 – a true partnership to tackle local community challenges and ensure emergency essentials are delivered to people who are most in need #TeamOldham.”

Following the closure of its facilities, the majority of OCL staff have been set to ‘furlough’ in keeping with government recommendations.

Many are now actively volunteering, helping key organisations in the community such as the NHS and Oldham Council. A few remain at work, engaging with customers.

Activities include: supplying exercise guides to elderly residents, so they can stay active at home and making regular phone calls to the older generation, who may be affected by isolation and loneliness.

OCL is also keeping in contact with the community and delivering online workouts for customers to follow on its website and via social media.

Stuart Lockwood, Chief Executive, said: “Oldham is a very proud borough with a huge community ethos.

“As an organisation, we are honoured to be a part of that. I believe we are integral to community spirit and, as such, we’re all working hard to keep our community active, healthy, connected and safe.

“We want to extend our gratitude to all those customers who have kept their membership direct debits in place or kindly donated to us, in spite of the financial challenges people are facing worldwide. Their support is so important.

“We have taken the decision to use these voluntary contributions towards ensuring a fair level of financial support for our staff, especially for those whose income would otherwise not be supported by Government funding.

“This includes the staff who drop in at short notice to cover cleaners, lifeguards and class instructors.”

A helpline is now available for Oldham’s most vulnerable residents, who are unable to leave the house and do not have a trusted friend, neighbour or family member to help them.

Open 9am-5pm on weekdays and 11am to 2pm on weekends, anyone needing help can call 0161 770 7007.

To find out more about the Oldham Foodbank visit https://oldham.foodbank.org.uk/locations/

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