Wiltshire packaging business marks 10 years of support for Swindon Food Collective with box donations

By Nick Batten on 27 April, 2023

GWP Packaging has marked ten years of supporting Swindon Food Collective by donating hundreds of boxes for the charity to use for food and other donations. 

The Swindon-based packaging manufacturer stepped in to assist the charity, formerly known as Swindon Foodbank, following a surge in demand caused by the ongoing cost of living crisis. 

Printed with Swindon Food Collective’s branding, the packaging is used by the charity to handle food and other donations at its West Swindon warehouse. 

Cher Smith MBE, Manager at Swindon Food Collective, said, “Covid certainly caused a sharp rise in people using our services, but the cost-of-living crisis has seen this accelerate still further. This time last year we were feeding about 7,600 people; now, it’s almost 11,000. This number is only growing. 

“We’ve opened four more distribution centres in the last couple of years, taking us up to 11 in total, with another two planned. We’ve also opened one centre for longer so that we can spend more time with people collecting donations, rather than just a quick over-the-counter service. And we have had to recruit almost 40 more volunteers.” 

The charity is also finding that it needs more donations to cover the surge in demand, which has equated to it distributing an extra 20 tonnes of food in the past 12 months. 

Cher continued, “Supporters can now download an app, called Bank the Food, that automatically sends notifications of the food products we are most in need of when they visit their local shops or supermarket. But even with this, we are now spending around £1,000 per month to ensure we have enough food.” 

With this growing demand and ongoing use, packaging has become increasingly crucial to running the Food Collective’s operations. 

The design for the charity’s packaging was originally a winning entry from a competition organised by GWP for Swindon College students in 2013. GWP has since manufactured and donated the boxes multiple times, most recently providing a large number during the first COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. 

Cher added, “GWP has been one of our main supporters over the past ten years, supplying us with boxes and providing other support as well. We really appreciate their help. As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals and local businesses to keep providing this vital service. We can’t say thank you enough to everyone that supports us.” 

Ruth Cook, Managing Director at GWP, said, “It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since we became involved with Swindon Foodbank. We are proud to be able to provide ongoing support to the great work the charity is doing, and we hope that our contribution helps in some way to assist it to provide this much-needed service.” 

GWP, part of Macfarlane Packaging, also supports several other community groups, including MMN and Marmalade Trust charities.

For more information on GWP, please visit: gwp.co.uk. 

For further information on Swindon Food Collective and how you can support the charity, please visit: swindonfoodcollective.org.