Foodbank got me back to work

By Ian Dipple Friday 13 December 2013 Updated: 16/12 12:28

SABRINA Flemming knows more than most what it is like to be so short of money you are unable to feed yourself or your family.

For just 18 months ago she was one of those people. But through volunteering with Redditch Food Bank the Winyates resident has rebuilt her life and has now re-entered the world of work, writes Ian Dipple.

“The food bank has helped me on a personal level. It has helped me confront my depression because it gave me an opportunity to get out of being socially isolated after I left work,” she told the Standard.

“It increased my self-confidence, my self-esteem and helped me rebuild myself and my personality as well as inspire me to give more and feel happy.”

The pressures of balancing a work and family life meant Sabrina decided to give up her job as a domiciliary care co-ordinator to look after her two children.

But shortly after her world fell apart as her marriage ended and she was left with no income and no way of feeding her family. Paying the every day bills was a struggle and she was relying on friends and family to help her with bags of food and support.

“I’d been unemployed for 18 months, I couldn’t get support because I’d left work,” she said.

“I had friends who could see I wasn’t in the position to provide food for my family. It was very, very degrading to begin with but I felt after a while, how wonderful it was people could do such a sweet kind thing.

“I just wanted to do the same for people out there because when I was in that position the most difficult thing was accepting what was happening to me.”

However a chance meeting with Liz Williams, from the Redditch Partnership, while taking an employability course with Winyates based Inspire, was the catalyst to turn her life around. Liz mentioned the work of the food bank and that they needed volunteers. Sabrina agreed to join the team and since August has been co-ordinating the 30 or so people who help out at the food bank either packing food, dealing with those who come through the doors needing help or delivering food to the distribution centres.

“The volunteers are just amazing,” the 35-year-old said.

“People say to me I have got nothing else to give but I can give you my time. They are changing lives through the food bank and helping local people.”

She is now set to leave the food bank for a job with Knights Pharmacist running their new Health and Wellbeing Hub in Winyates Centre, but she hopes to still be involved with the food bank which she says has given her so much.

“They’ve given me a job, they’ve given me new skills, rebuilt my character, allowed me to give back to the community - it’s just amazing how they have helped me.”

Volunteers are still needed to meet growing demand for the food bank’s services.

Positions include transporting food to distribution centres, working with people who seek help, fund-raising and helping with supermarket collections.

For more information call Rev Robin Baker on 01527 585926.

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