“Once a week, every week, we get this food. It’s brilliant.”

Tacked onto the end of a row of shops and in the middle of a residential estate in the Gloucestershire town of Stonehouse, you have to look twice to spot the small, square black and white sign that reads simply ‘All Pulling Together.’ But step through the door and this unassuming shopfront gives way to a warm, welcoming space which offers everything from debt advice and household budgeting courses to sewing groups, craft workshops and days out for families. Not only that, but All Pulling Together (APT) is a dedicated Warm Space, a venue for community meetings and importantly, a place where anyone can access free food.

APT is staffed almost entirely by volunteers (there is just one paid, part-time member of staff), all of who live locally. The people that use their services include families with children, elderly people and refugees but the team is clear that their door is open to anyone who needs help. Between them, the volunteers know most of APT’s service users and can often signpost other services that they think might be beneficial.

APT joined FareShare South West as a food member in 2021, to provide their community with much needed food support. Since then, they’ve received weekly deliveries of 100kg good quality food which they distribute to around 100 local people each week. Their timings are carefully planned to support people throughout the week:

Because we get our delivery on a Thursday, it means that families have enough food for the weekend and then we open again on a Monday for people to have a food top up for the rest of the week if necessary” says Jacky Edwards, Chair of APT.

Like so many of the organisations that receive food from FareShare South West, APT has seen an increase in the demand for food over the last six months. Staples like pasta and tinned tuna are particularly popular ‘because you can make a meal out of them…’ says Jacky. Right now, they provide food to around 55 adults and children twice a week.

Early January saw a huge increase – with 46 adults and 27 children seeking food on one day alone. The service operates every Monday and Thursday on a ‘donate what you can’ basis. The team recognise that many of the people that need food simply can’t afford to pay for it.

“If it wasn’t for APT over the last few months, I wouldn’t have been able to feed my daughter or myself. My bills have gone up so much that I can’t afford to pay everything in one go. Thank you for being so understanding.” – Emma, a service user of APT.

Since they started receiving weekly deliveries from FareShare South West, APT has not only been able to guarantee a steady supply of good food to their community, but even extended their services beyond Stonehouse and into the rest of the GL10 postcode. And they don’t stop there. As well as the on-site pantry, APT volunteers make a fortnightly food delivery to local families who can’t make it to the hub themselves, whether through lack of transport, poor health or not wanting to miss a doctor’s appointment.

“Thank goodness for what you do…once a week, every week, we get this food. It’s brilliant.”

Over 3 million tonnes of the food that goes to waste each year is still edible

That’s enough for seven billion meals

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