Cottsway Housing Association in Oxfordshire has been overwhelmed by the support from some of its IT contractors and suppliers after the volunteers running the Oxfordshire West Food Bank asked the housing provider for help.

Due to limited space and access, as well as a lack of heating and facilities for the volunteers, the food bank was facing possible closure before Christmas 2014. Cottsway offered the food bank the use of one of its offices, complete with facilities, for up to six months at first, with a promise to consider longer-term options. Cottsway converted the office to make it suitable for the food bank, including the installation of racking for much-needed storage space. They also helped with the move by providing transport and staff volunteers.

Bart Meldau, head of business support, Cottsway Housing Association, said, “We asked some of our IT contractors and suppliers for donations towards this project which will go towards the costs of the move, the equipment needed and to keep the food bank running.

“Their response was very generous. MIS Active Management Systems, who are our main software supplier, made a substantial donation. This was followed by an equally generous contribution from Documotive whom we’re working with to improve our electronic documents and records management. We also received significant donations from The JDI Partnership and our telephony provider ONI. It will all go towards providing a much-valued community service.”

Jeanette Allerston, software development director, MIS Active Management Systems, said, “Cottsway has been a long-standing partner with MIS-AMS and has helped us develop our product range. When we heard they were putting a rescue package together for a local food bank, we were only too happy to help.”

Sue Lakin, Cottsway’s operations director, added, “We are very much a community-based organisation and are keen to do what we can to sustain such an important lifeline for people who are in genuine need. The generous donations we received are very much appreciated and have made a huge difference to the food bank, its volunteers and, more importantly, to those who use the food bank.”

According to the Trussell Trust, over 900,000 people received three days’ emergency food from its food banks during 2013-14 compared with around 350,000 people in 2012-13.