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Tuesday, July 23, 2024


Manchester Central Foodbank has received a lifeline donation of £10,000 from The Watches of Switzerland Group to support its fight against hunger.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, UK food banks have experienced a soaring 89 per cent increase in demand for emergency food parcels, including a 107 per cent rise in parcels given to children*.

The Watches of Switzerland Group recognised the emergency need for additional funds to feed families, and in response pledged £100,000 to UK food banks and $50,000 to food banks in the USA – two nations amongst the hardest hit by the virus.

These vital funds have been shared between seven of The Trussell Trust’s food banks in UK cities where the group has a presence, including Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leicester, Bristol and London. While the USA donation has been gifted to food banks in New York, Las Vegas and Florida.

Since the beginning of lockdown, Manchester Central Foodbank has provided 2,062 three-day emergency food parcels, 906 of which have gone to children, weighing a total of 13.1 tonnes. These figures are up by 230 per cent when compared with the same period last year. At its peak during the pandemic, the food bank fed 286 people in one week, and is not seeing signs of returning to usual levels of service any time soon.

Manchester is a special city to the group as it has a long-standing history as part of its retail offering with Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland showrooms in the city centre. The city is also home to a Tag Heuer boutique, as well as a Breitling boutique and another Goldsmiths store in the Trafford Centre.

Brian Duffy, CEO of The Watches of Switzerland Group, said: “During the Covid-19 crisis as more and more people fall on hard times, we are very aware of the significant increase in those relying on food banks and we wanted to play a small role in giving back to those most in need.

“While looking after the health and wellbeing of our colleagues has been our main priority, we also recognised the need to look after the people living in the communities around our stores. Our people have always been truly passionate about helping local causes, and we hope that these donations will help the food banks keep up with the demand they are experiencing to feed families in the UK and USA.”

Patsy Davies, assistant project manager at Manchester Central Foodbank, said: “Firstly, we would like to express our gratitude again for this incredibly generous donation. It will be used to buy around five and a half tonnes of food to distribute to the growing number of people we support. We rely almost entirely on donations, and with us distributing more food than ever before, we have found ourselves in a position where we are having to buy in ever growing quantities of food to ensure that our parcels are adequately sized and nutritionally balanced.

“Whilst we envision we will be working at a greatly increased capacity for quite some time, in the coming weeks we are hoping to provide more household and hygiene products in our parcels at a time where they are of paramount importance, and are particularly expensive to purchase for those experiencing poverty. We are looking to accept donations of these items, or begin to start purchasing them ourselves. We appreciate any and all donations that will allow us to continue supporting people who need our service, and we couldn’t do this without generosity such as this.”

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