Generous students and staff from Reaseheath College have donated a record collection of food and Christmas treats to help people in need in their local community.

All departments from the Nantwich college were involved in amassing over 50 boxes and bags of in-date, non perishable food and household items which have now been delivered to Nantwich Foodbank. The Foodbank, which was set up in 2013 by The Trussell Trust in response to food poverty, has seen a 300% increase in clients in the last three months, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reaseheath’s contributions, which were collected from all departments and co-ordinated by animal management, business, food science and foundation students, will be processed by Nantwich Foodbank and handed over to those who have been identified by agencies as being in need.

Long serving Foodbank volunteer and trustee Paul Stone emphasised: “The last six months has been exceptionally busy and challenging for us. Our client base has increased to nearly 1,400 and we are spending up to £300 a week on buying food because demand is exceeding supply. This is due to a fall in food donations because of the pandemic, coupled with the usual seasonal rise in demand.

We have also had to temporarily close our Market Street centre and use our van to deliver food parcels directly to clients’ homes.

“We have worked with Reaseheath for a number of years and are very grateful for the college’s involvement. We need more fantastic contributions like the one we have just received from the students and staff. It means so much for local families, particularly those who are facing food poverty over Christmas.”

Animal Management Programme Leader Andy Smith, who organised the collection, said: “We encourage our students to engage with their local community as part of their course and we have supported Nantwich Foodbank since it was launched.

“This year we have had our best response yet. Students and staff from the whole college have been incredibly generous and the size of our collection has exceeded all expectations.

“Our contribution has been even more important this year because of the challenges faced by a growing number of families due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Foodbanks are under tremendous pressure at the moment and the need in the community is great.

“Our students have really taken the initiative to heart. As well as supporting a really good cause they have got a lot out of it themselves. It has made them realise that there are a lot of people, including people of their own age, who are worse off than themselves. And there may well be students here at Reaseheath whose families have or will received support from foodbanks.”

Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Animal Management student Katie Woolley-Sant said: “Everyone across college has been very supportive. We are really pleased that we’ve been able to help people who deserve it.”

Toys which were also donated have been passed to Home-Start Cheshire, a support service for families with young children.