How we work

Winchester Basics Bank volunteersWinchester Basics Bank is a Christian project supported by local churches, caring organisations and Winchester City Council. We provide individuals and families in need with:

  • Emergency food parcels of enough tinned and dried food for 5 days plus fresh fruit and vegetables when available
  • Good quality second hand clothes (men’s and women’s)

Food and clothing may only be obtained with a voucher. These vouchers are issued by around 90 agencies including:

  • Winchester Churches Night Shelter
  • Housing associations
  • Winchester City Council
  • Citizen’s Advice Bureau
  • Social services
  • Health visitors
  • Churches
  • Probation officers
  • The Trinity Centre
  • Schools
  • Charities supporting families in need

There are many different situations where an individual or a family may find themselves in emergency need of food and clothing. Here are a few examples:

Relationships breakdown/Domestic abuse

Still in a state of shock and physically bruised following her husband’s violent weekend outburst, Maria has come for a week’s supply of food and clothing for her two children under the age of five. She is staying at the Women’s Refuge while a solicitor helps her gain a court injunction as well as access to the marital home and the joint bank accounts.


Depressed at the thought of turning fifty and the simultaneous loss of his long-term partner and professional position, Dennis began to drink heavily and ended up sleeping rough. His alcoholism means he is usually refused a place at the Nightshelter. He sleeps in a local cricket pavilion and often spends the daytime hours in the refuge of a local church; it is the vicar of the church who has made the referral to enable Dennis to obtain food and clothing.


Yasmin is in a relatively low paid job, but has been managing to keep up the payments on her flat. A cold spell and rising energy costs have meant that she has not been able to buy enough food.  Her doctor, concerned at the impact this has been having on her health, issued her with a voucher to exchange for food and warm clothing.


Peter and his family had been placed in emergency accommodation following a fire at their home. As the council had issued a Basics Bank voucher, they were able to collect food and clothing from us, to tide them over until they were able to gain access to what was left of their belongings.

Family circumstances

Rachel and Tom have had several partners and marriages between them. These have left them with five children to care for, ranging from two to 15 years old, plus several outstanding court and rental bills. They have resorted to getting high interest credit loans which they lack the means to repay, despite both being in work at a local department store. They have been referred to the Basics Bank by a local children’s centre attended by the youngest child.


James and Andrea decided as young married couple that their calling was to work with people with learning disabilities. They have two children of their own, both under five, and Andrea augments the family income with part-time evening work as a lifeguard. During the day she is a care assistant. Unfortunately, with the sudden closure of the charity for which he works, James has been made redundant. This has coincided with significant increases in energy and rental bills. They are struggling to make ends meet and need temporary assistance to see them through while James seeks benefit support and a new job.

A little of our history

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.

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