Winchester Basics Bank, which first opened in January 2004, was modelled on a similar extremely successful venture in Southampton.
Recognising the need for such a facility in Winchester, a steering group was formed from people who had experience of working with vulnerable groups 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.
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 boosted our finances considerably as well as giving extra publicity.
Following the valuable partnership with City Church, the Basics Bank began to seek new larger premises and in March 2009 moved to a new location in Highcliffe. Winchester City Council were actively involved in this process and we are very grateful for their support. We are also grateful to our MP Steve Brine, who hosted a collection point at his offices until October 2017.
Today we are also supported by both Winchester branches of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose Stockbridge Road, who host collection points at their premises, as well as by Abel & Cole who provide us with their excess fruit and vegetables when available. In addition we receive donations from 2 branches of Tesco via the FairShare food cloud scheme.
In February 2013 many volunteers, parishioners and representatives from several of our agencies joined the trustees and staff to witness the opening of a new distribution point at St Barnabas Church in Weeke by our patron, Lord Raymond Plant (pictured above).
In December 2017 a further distribution point was opened in Stanmore at St.Luke’s Church.