Wigan church joins forces with Fur Clemt to open food distribution centre

Church warden Alison Brown at St James with St Thomas Church in Poolstock
Church warden Alison Brown at St James with St Thomas Church in Poolstock

A 152-year-old Wigan church has announced it will convert a chapel within its grounds into a food distribution centre following funding approval.

St James with St Thomas Church in Poolstock is collaborating with food waste reduction organisation Fur Clemt to deliver fresh goods to vulnerable people in the community.

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The church admits that it is sad that such a service is needed in the first place, but is keen to promote it.

The proposed "food pantry" will be situated in the church’s lady chapel, with a large fridge, freezer and shelving being put in place to contain the donated stock, which would otherwise go to landfill.

Funding from Wigan Council’s The Deal will be used to make the changes, which will come into effect within the next month.

The news comes shortly after the church received a refurbishment to other parts of its interior which led to improved toilet facilities and a kitchen with brewing facilities being fitted.

Church warden Alison Brown said: “We have had a really positive reaction to the alterations made to create the St James’s Centre, so now we want to expand on this by working with Fur Clemt - who already do amazing work with homeless people in Wigan - in order to set up this distribution centre.

“We are looking forward to people partnering with us to make the most out of this space and help feed those who need it the most.

“With the amount of fresh food that will be coming in, we are expecting there to be a big turnaround so we can keep delivering the service.”

For £5 people can have a year’s membership which will allow them to visit the pantry twice a week for their shop, with each visit allowing them to take away 18 items.

More than a dozen volunteers are being called upon to help run the centre, with members of other churches and the school community coming forward to offer a helping hand.