Who we support
Nourish is a registered charity which was originally set up in response to the increasing numbers of low income working households who can't make ends meet once they have paid their bills, and those individuals and families hit by welfare benefit cuts or unemployment. Our aim is "No one need be hungry in Tunbridge Wells".
Nourish can provide short-term emergency support in a crisis to individuals and families within the borough of Tunbridge Wells and we are expanding into south Tonbridge as of 1st October 2016.
How We Help
Behind every one of these statistics is a story. They are all different. The following are just some of the stories from people we have helped this past year. Please note, all names have been changed.
“I just wanted to thank you so very much for the bags of food i received today. I’m so very grateful and humbled by the kindness of others. Please pass on my thanks to all concerned” “Quite simply it has saved us! The kindness of strangers has been humbling, and reduced me to tears (for once, not from worry!). I cannot thank you all enough.”
How it works
Nourish is reliant on food and funding donated by the public, local businesses, supermarkets, manufacturers and charitable trusts.
Our volunteers, all DBS checked, range in age from 17 to 70. They sort and date order food in our storage area at Big Yellow Storage in Tunbridge Wells and pack it into food parcels for families and individuals to last them for three days. We operate a doorstep delivery using volunteer drivers rather than asking people to pick up their food from a central point, thus enabling us to ensure confidentiality.
Front line care professionals such as health professionals, social workers, family liaison officers, housing support workers, keyworkers, police, voluntary agencies such as CAB and Age UK TW and community referrers identify people in need and refer on to Nourish. We work with a wide variety of referral agents who are best placed to establish a criteria of need and ensure that it is genuine.
We strive to discourage a culture of dependency, preferring to support families and individuals in crisis until they are able to move on. Our policy is to issue a maximum 12 bags to a family or individual in any 12-month period.
We also signpost to longer-term support and advice and help people acquire skills, including cooking, budgeting and dietary skills, as well as employment & training advice.
It's not just about food. The consequences of food poverty can be far reaching, including increased crime, loss of tenancies, mental health problems and family breakdown. Nourish can help provide more positive outcomes by offering a period of respite and an opportunity for change.
What It Means To Our Referral Agencies
"DAVSS was delighted at the very swift response to an urgent request for food for a domestic abuse survivor who only had tea bags and sugar in her cupboard for a week, until she received money due to her. The request went to Nourish mid afternoon and by 4.45 pm, a food parcel had been delivered to her door with the promise of a further delivery 4 days later to make sure she did not go without. This swift response was all that we could hope for - Nourish provided food yet again for someone in real need when there was no-one else to turn to. Thank you so much for providing this vital service"
“A special thank you to yourselves at Nourish Foodbank and your doubtless numerous supporters for enabling myself and Crossroads to support one of our very elderly patients with cognitive problems and help ensure her welfare. This lady has no relatives or close associates to assist and her former employer with whom she remains on good terms has had major health problems recently and has not been able to have any input.”
“John has received your food parcel and has asked me to email you to thank you for everything, you literally stepped in when he was at his lowest point and enabled me to help him to sort out his multiple issues while being able to safeguard his welfare. The process is so easy and I thank you for yet again being on the other end of the phone at an ungodly hour!”
Why Is Nourish Needed?
Nourish was established in November 2012 in response to an identified need for the service in the Tunbridge Wells area. The tables below show the most recent statistics that relate to households and children living in poverty in the local area.
Households and Poverty
In both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, over 16% of households are living in poverty
Source: Office For National Statistics
There are currently 3.7 million children living in poverty in the UK. That's over a quarter of all children. 1.7 million of these children are living in severe poverty. . In the UK 63% of children living in poverty are in a family where someone works.
In Tunbridge Wells, This figure is 17.54%, up from 16.96% in 2014, and in some areas of the town rises to as high as 31%
The consequences of food poverty can be far reaching, including increased crime, loss of tenancies, mental health problems and family breakdown. The cost to the local economy of Child Poverty is estimated as below.
The high levels of child poverty in the UK are currently costing the country at least £29 billion a year – or £1,098 per household - according to a research by Donald Hirsch of Loughborough University. Please read the full report here
A fuel poor household is defined as one which needs to spend more than 10% of its income on all fuel use and to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth.
The current definition of fuel poverty states that it is driven by three key factors: energy efficiency of the home; energy costs and household income.
Tunbridge Wells has the fourth highest fuel poverty in the South East.
Meet The Nourish Team
Olga Johnson - Co Chair
After 10 years in strategic HR in the commercial sector Olga set up Charity Recruitment Ltd in 1986 and was one of the first specialist recruitment agencies offering services to the charity sector. The company developed a range of services for the charity and not for profit sectors, including executive search, and provided staff at all levels.
Charity Recruitment also set up one of the first salary surveys in the sector and the Top 20 Salary Club that worked in partnership with 20 charities with annual turnover in excess of £50 million. These salary services have since been purchased by ExpertHR and the Top 20 Salary Club now has 50 members.
Charity Recruitment, together with the HR Directors of the NSPCC and MENCAP started the HR Forum in 1995 with regular meetings and speakers. This developed into a membership organisation with more than 70 charities and is now managed by the NCVO.
Olga was a trustee of SightSavers from 2001-2009 when she contributed to the recruitment of a new Chair and a review of the Council so that Trustees more accurately reflected the international development work of SightSavers. As a trustee of The Institute of Fundraising from 2003-2009, Olga was Chair of the Committee implementing CPD for fundraisers.
From 2007-2011 Olga chaired the Nominations Committee for Scope, working closely with the Chair and CEO to undertake skills audits of the board and recruit new trustees. Olga is currently a Trustee of HealthProm and SPANA and a Co-Chair of Nourish Foodbank as well as a frequent spokesperson to the press.
Paul Haines - Co Chair
Paul has lived in Tunbridge Wells since 2003. He has over 12 years experience as a finance professional and works in London for a large financial institution.
Paul was previously a co-opted governor at a local academy and joined Nourish as a trustee in September 2013 and manages the website and social media for the charity.
He was elected as co chair in December 2014
Carol Stone - Trustee and Hon. Treasurer
Carol is a freelance consultant, specialising in grant making and interim management for the voluntary sector.
Having begun her working life in arts management she has since held senior roles in the voluntary and public sector including at the Arts Council, the Big Lottery Fund, London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund and the Responsible Gambling Fund. Voluntary positions have included trustee roles for arts organisations and for a professional pensions scheme, and serving as a member and contributor to steering groups, committees, reports and conferences in the UK and Europe, relating to grant making and to support for victims of disaster and terrorism.
Carole Wilson - Trustee
Carol and her family have had connections with Tunbridge Wells for many years, her husband began his working life on the Courier, her daughter teaches locally and her grandchildren attend a local primary school.
Originally from Ireland she spent most of her working life working for local authorities and the NHS in London and the South East. She has qualifications in nursing, psychiatric social work and management.
She and her husband returned to live in the town four years ago and have been active in a number of local societies and voluntary bodies.
Since her return she has been elected as the local Labour Party Women’s Officer and has taken a leading role in re-establishing the Labour Women’s Forum and is a candidate for next month’s council elections.
Carol said, “I am delighted to have been elected as a trustee for Nourish which has a vital role in supporting the many families and individuals in real need in these difficult economic times.”
Alisa Sweeney - Trustee
Alisa is a real estate lawyer practising as a partner at a large Tunbridge Wells firm. She Has been married to Paul for 17 years, a quantity surveyor and lives with him and her 5 pedigree cats in the pretty village of Mayfield. Alisa' s interests including dance, both watching and enjoying ceroc dancing, cooking, theatre and cinema and walking in the country side or attempting to keep up with her husband cycling around the Sussex and Kent countryside or even better the warmth of the South of France.
Adrian Tofts - Trustee
Adrian lives in East Sussez and currently works for a local authority in Kent as a Landscape Architect and Town Planner. He studied at art college in Cheltenham and has worked for consultancies and local authorities in Suffolk, Chester and Cambridge.
His likes include Art, architecture, design. Exhibitions and galleries. Cricket. Music. The outdoors. Making ice cream.
Martin Holroyd - Trustee
Martin is the Product Director at a Media Intelligence business, based in London, and has worked with media-related technology for the past 18 years.
He is originally from Preston, Lancashire, though lived in London for 20 years, and recently moved to Five Ashes near Mayfield. His interests include, reading, gardening, attempting to keep fit and Manchester United.
Marianne MacDonald - Trustee
Marianne qualified as a pharmacist 25 years ago and has worked as a community pharmacist and pharmacy journalist before moving into the field of medical and pharmaceutical communications. Previously the founder of two successful and award-winning healthcare communications companies, Marianne now runs her own business providing strategic consultancy and editorial support for the healthcare industries. She joined Nourish in 2013 as a volunteer and has been a Trustee since October 2015.
Graham Jones - Trustee
Graham was joint senior partner of a leading firm of solicitors in Knightsbridge until his retirement in 2015. He has lived with his wife, Alison, in Withyham for 23 years. Graham became a Trustee in late 2016 having initially obtained experience as a volunteer bag packer with Nourish. He is currently one of the team of drivers who deliver food bags to our clients.
Islay O'Hara - Trustee
Islay is a PR and marketing specialist with over 20 years’ experience gained both in the corporate sector working nationally and internationally specialising in Healthcare PR and, more recently, in the Third Sector working for local charities, developing and implementing marketing and communications strategies supporting their growth and expansion.
She has been living and working in Tunbridge Wells for the last 26 years and is married with two children who attend local schools.
“I am delighted to have been elected as a trustee and I am looking forward to helping Nourish grow to the benefit of those in need in our local community.”