Swinton Lock Activity Centre: “Food is a basic need.”

Swinton Lock Activity Centre provide a range of services to the local and wider communities.  They work with children and young people and provide various adult services and volunteering opportunities. They also operate two boats, one a training boat and the other a trip boat, alongside providing a food bank.

The food bank take referrals who are part of their own client group, or that have been sent by a referral agent in the locality of Swinton and Kilnhurst. It operates on a Wednesday afternoon between 2.30pm and 4pm for recipients to collect their food parcels. Due to lack of funding, they are unable to offer deliveries, but it is something they did previously.

In addition to the above, the youth club operates on a Thursday night. Since the New Year, they have been providing a hot meal for the children using surplus they receive from FareShare Yorkshire.

They regularly provide food parcels for between 40-50 households per week, with around 35-40 youth club attendees benefitting from the much-needed hot meals too.

The Cost of Living Crisis has impacted the organisation massively, with a 564% increase in utility bills this year. They anticipate a further hike in rental for the building too and assume there will be similar increases in other standard bills across the centre. They are also having an increasing number of clients with greater mental health issues as a result of the national crisis and a number unable to meet their bills. The statement ‘heating or eating’ is common within the centre.

A spokesperson from Swinton Lock wanted to highlight how grateful they are for surplus food deliveries:

“FareShare Yorkshire provide us with surplus food for our food bank and without them we would not be able to operate the same. Put simply; families would be hungry and children would be hungry. People would feel the impact of a lack of food on their mental health and feel excluded from society. Food is a basic need, so the surplus food allows us to fulfil that basic need.”

They went on to explain the strong community spirit that brings people together at Swinton Lock.

“People feel part of the community and people are grateful for what they receive. The food bank brings a smile to people’s faces when they visit to collect their parcel and for some who are isolated, the only conversation they have in the day is with us. It has helped people become part of the ‘Swinton Lock Community Centre community’. We’ve also been able to give clients access to some of our other services who may not have had access to them without the food bank. We hope that those who give you their surplus food realise the real impact it has on our individuals and families. It is such valuable work.

“People assume that those that attend food banks receive benefits, but we have a number who work incredibly hard and genuinely struggle to make ends meet. Running our food bank means we can take some of the strain from these families.”


Swinton Lock also gave us some feedback from some of their services users.

  • “It helps me out a lot, I can make a meal everyday. My mental health used to be so bad and I’d not know what to eat next. I stopped eating as I didn’t know when I’d have food, but now I know there’s always food in the cupboard. I’m so grateful for all the help, I have 3 meals a day now.”

  • “It has really helped me, you get items you wouldn’t usually find in a supermarket too. The food is good quality and it has helped my family a lot.”

  • “I used to have a difficult time, but this has helped me to feed my children.”

270,000 tonnes of perfectly edible food gets wasted by the food industry each year.

That’s enough for nearly 650,000,000 meals

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