Who we support

Nourish is a registered charity that provides short-term emergency provisions, support and signposting in a crisis to individuals and families within the borough of Tunbridge Wells, South Tonbridge and the surrounding areas.

Our mission is that "no-one need go hungry in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas"

We work on a strict referral only basis from front line 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. We currently work with over 100 such agencies in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge who must adhere to our referral policies and this ensures that any need is genuine.

We are managed by a board of trustees who are extremely active in the day to day running but we also have a contracted Operations Manager, Assistant Operations Manager and Warehouse Manager, all of whom work part time and are invaluable in our operation.

We work extremely closely with all our referral agents to ensure ongoing support is received by all beneficiaries in order to determine and hopefully eliminate the core cause of the crisis. 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.

In 2017-2018, 65% of our referrals were for people using our service three times or less.

Our relationship base with our referral agents also enable us to signpost our clients to longer term support and advice and help people acquire skills, including cooking, budgeting and dietary skills, as well as employment & training advice.

From an operational perspective, we differ from other foodbanks in that we deliver food parcels to our beneficiaries. We currently maintain four storage units at Big Yellow Self Storage in Tunbridge Wells, one of which is fully funded by Big Yellow and we have an amazing team of volunteers that deliver food parcels throughout the area that we cover. This aids client confidentiality, enables us to operate with minimal overheads and also helps with the more practical side of someone in crisis turning up at a centre and trying to get home with lots of supplies, especially as we cover such a large area.

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.

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.”

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

Child Poverty

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

Fuel Poverty

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.

Nourish Community Foodbank Ltd

Charity Number 1154716
Registered Company Number 8303764

Nourish is a charity and company limited by guarantee, incorporated 22 November 2012 and registered as a charity 24 November 2013. The company was established under a Memorandum of Association, which established the objects and powers of the charitable company and is governed under its Articles of Association.

Meet the Trustees

 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 16 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 for the charity.

He was elected as co chair in December 2014


 Peter Wooster - Trustee and Hon. Treasurer


Peter worked as a Chartered Accountant & Management Consultant: in 2000 he started a company developing financial computer programs.  Peter retired in 2015; he is Treasurer of a local political party and ‘detainee befriender’ at Gatwick Detention Centre. In 2017 Peter joined Nourish as warehouse sorter and became Treasurer in October 2018. Peter has lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1997.



  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.”


 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.


 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.”


 Susan Smith - Trustee

Susan is a solicitor with experience in local authorities, further and university education and for the last 30 years in private practice.

In the voluntary sector she has been a primary school governor and President of Warwick Graduates Association. She has worked in the Box Office of Trinity Theatre for the last 26 years and is also a Volunteer Coordinator with the RSPB and a volunteer reader for RNIB Connect Radio.

she has 3 adult children and 2 baby grandsons. Her husband is a solicitor. She runs and plays racketball, squash and tennis and has sailed in many parts of the world.


Nancy Mansfield - Trustee


Nancy is a charity professional with over ten years experience in the sector. She is currently Associate Director for SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad). Nancy first supported Nourish with their fundraising strategy in 2016 and became a Trustee in 2018. Nancy's family first moved to Hildenborough in 1952 and she is proud to continue their legacy of supporting the community and surrounding areas.



Chris Leening - Trustee


Chris is a retired Chartered Electrical Engineer, and has lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1981, apart from spells living abroad. Worked with UK Government aid organisations managing projects, for some forty years, including intergovernmental liaison. 


Since retirement, volunteered with National Trust, Pepenbury (a charity caring for the physically and mentally disabled), the London Olympics as team leader, and Nourish as a driver for some three years. 



 Could Nourish Help You?

To qualify for help, families and individuals have to be referred to Nourish by a professional care organisation, such as Social Services, DAVSS, Local housing groups, Citizens Advice Bureau, Age UK etc. We also work with Churches, Schools and Doctors Surgeries.

If you feel that you are in need of the service provided by Nourish Community Foodbank then please speak to your GP, Social services, your care provider or the CAB.

Your GP or relevant agency can then refer you onto Nourish and we will be in touch.



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