Salisbury’s Trussell Trust scooped the top award at the Health and Wellbeing Awards in Trowbridge last Thursday. The Trust received the Liquid Media, Outstanding Contribution award at a packed event that brought together health and wellbeing groups from all over Wiltshire. The award was made following a vote by participants after nominations were presented from the podium.
Nominating the Trust, Steve Milton from Salisbury spoke about how he had been moved by the astonishing commitment of the founders Carol and Paddy Henderson and the wonderful response from the local community in the City. ‘Salisbury has really taken the Trust to its hearts’ he said.
Speaking from the stage, Steve said:
‘A single phone call in 1999 changed Carol and Paddy’s lives forever and inspired them to create a lifeline that today helps hundreds of thousands of families across the UK.
‘Carol and Paddy were involved in a church relief mission with drug-addicted young mums and their starving children on the streets of Bulgaria and had arrived back home to Salisbury to raise funds for their next trip.
‘One evening, a mum of three young children called at their house. She asked them, ‘Why are you feeding kids overseas when my children were going to bed hungry tonight?’
‘That call shocked the couple to look at poverty on their own doorstep in Salisbury.
They had the simple idea of a food box system that would provide three days’ worth of supplies for families, and pumped in their own money to make it work.
‘The plan was backed by Wiltshire social services but getting funding was not so easy. In the end, they invested £70,000 – most of the inheritance left by Carol’s mum Betty Trussell, who the trust was named after.
‘The Trust’s first collection took place outside Waitrose in Salisbury and by the end of the day the couple had half a tonne of food and no way of getting it home.
‘At first the couple used their house, then their shed and later their garage to store the food.
‘Immediately, there was a big demand for help from local people in Salisbury and in the early days the Trust struggled to keep up with the requests that came flooding in. Steve recalled an appeal on Spire FM radio, at a time when their stocks were desperately low.
‘By lunchtime, people were making their way up to St Michael’s Church on Bemerton Heath and dropping off boxes of food at the door. Local people had really taken the Foodbank to their heart.
‘What started as a small project supporting the local community in Salisbury has now grown into a national phenomena, with 30,000 volunteers across the County.
‘Last year over 900,000 people across the UK received 3 days emergency food support from the Trust. But today, the Trust is much more than simply a Foodbank.
‘The Trust now provides drop in sessions, supported work experience opportunities for people with learning disabilities, furniture recycling and much more.’
Steve accepted the award on behalf of Carol and Paddy who now live in New Zealand with their daughter.