A FOODBANK has moved to Wilton to serve its growing demand in a "warm and comforting" space.

Salisbury Foodbank relocated its Fovant hub to Wilton Community Centre and opened for the first time on Friday, February 23.

It is open to all every Friday from 12.30pm until 2.30pm and it operates a referral system for food packages. These referrals can come from more than 300 agencies across Wiltshire, including schools, social services and GPs.

Manager Maria Stevenson has been involved with Salisbury Foodbank since 2018 and said more people are accessing the service not just for food but also for support.

 "We were keen to have a foodbank in a very rural setting. While our volunteers were servicing people in Fovant, they found many people were coming from Wilton to the centre," she said.

Salisbury Journal: Foodbank manager Maria Stevenson.Foodbank manager Maria Stevenson. (Image: Salisbury Journal)

Maria explained how the food parcels are the "vehicle" to get people to the centre and once they are there, volunteers can help point them to the right support. She said statistics show people, on average, visit the foodbank 2.4 times and don't need the support again.

Last year Salisbury Foodbank distributed more than 75k meals to SP1 to SP5 and SP9 postcodes. Each package included enough food for nine meals.

Julie Wallis and Margaret Wilcock, from Fovant, have been volunteering for the foodbank for one and a half years.

Salisbury Journal: Maria Wallis and Margaret Wilcock moved from Essex and have been volunteering together.Maria Wallis and Margaret Wilcock moved from Essex and have been volunteering together. (Image: Salisbury Journal)

Julie said: "A lot of people who come are really worried about what they will find but this is a really warm and welcoming environment."

Margaret said she was volunteering for "the greater good", adding: "It could be any one of us at any time that may need to use this service, so we're very respectful of people."

The unique part about the new Wilton foodbank is that people have more choice of what food they can takeaway, Maria said: "Previously we gave pre-picked boxes but here people can choose whether they want rice or pasta, soup flavours and dietary needs.

"There's more dignity in them picking their own diet."

Salisbury Journal: This is how much food a person would get.This is how much food a person would get. (Image: Salisbury Journal)

Wiltshire Councillor Pauline Church, for Wilton, said the opening was "really good news", adding: "It's really valuable for our community, particularly for those who fall on hard times."

Jason Barnes is chair of trustees at Wilton Community Centre said when Cllr Church came to him with the idea of opening the space to Salisbury Foodbank his answer was "absolutely yes".

Salisbury Journal: The foodbank is in Wilton Community Centre.The foodbank is in Wilton Community Centre. (Image: Salisbury Journal)

"It's the ideal room with ideal access. It's on the bus route, it's discreet, the volunteers are terribly professional and we're delighted to be able to support them in continuing their great work in serving the community," Mr Barnes added.

Deputy mayor of Wilton Cllr Alan Crossley said the town council would 'like to help out where it can' and would welcome any grant applications from the foodbank.

For more information about Wilton Foodbank and to donate visit salisbury.foodbank.org.uk.