Winchester Basics Bank, which opened on Tuesday 27th January 2004, was modelled on an extremely successful predecessor in Southampton.
Recognising the need for such a facility in Winchester, a steering group was formed from people who had experience of working with the needy in the city. These included representatives from Winchester Churches Night Shelter, Winchester Churches Housing Group ‘Keystone’, Winchester City Council and other church members.
The management of City Church in Jewry Street offered premises in their basement at a low rent and helped organise the necessary renovation. An army of volunteers from local churches was then mobilised to decorate and furnish enough rooms to allow us to open on the target date.
As a Christian charity, the project is largely supported by churches, but was assisted in its launch by Winchester City Council, local Trust Funds, and organisations such as Winchester Round Table, as well as generous individuals. In 2006/7 we were proud that Mayor Sue Nelmes chose the project as one of her charities, which has boosted our finances considerably as well as giving us extra publicity.
After a valuable partnership with City Church, the Basics Bank began to seek new premises which would provide more space to improve how it serves those in need. In March 2009 it moved to a new location in Highcliffe. We are very grateful to Winchester City Council for their active involvement in this process and their offer of premises with sufficient scope to accommodate the project’s longer term vision. Today we are also supported by both Winchester branches of Sainsbury’s and our MP Steve Brine, who host collection points at their premises as well as by Abel and Cole who provide us with their excess fruit and vegetables when available.
On Thursday 28 February 2013 many volunteers, parishioners and representatives from several of our agencies joined the trustees and staff to witness the opening of a second distribution point at St Barnabas Church in Weeke by our patron, Lord Raymond Plant (pictured above).