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Food charity has to fold
A PIONEERING charity that gave food packages to needy residents has folded.
Basingstoke Food Aid 4 U was launched last August by Winklebury couple Martin Schroder and Tracey Gauntlet who both suffer from cerebral palsy.
The charity gave out food, donated by a number of sources such as local supermarkets, to people being assisted by organisations including the probation service, housing associations and Basingstoke Women’s Refuge.
It was originally based at Basingstoke YMCA, in Eastrop Way, where the couple were allowed to rent a room on the site at a reduced rate.
But as reported by The Gazette, the YMCA expanded its services and no longer had room for the food bank service.
Earlier this year, the couple confirmed they were not hopeful of finding a new home on a small budget.
Their fears became a reality when Basingstoke Food Aid 4 U ceased operating last month.
Mr Schroder said he was “saddened” by the closure but said the service helped hundreds of people. He added: “We worked very hard and it is frustrating.”
Maureen Covacic, of Basingstoke Voluntary Services, praised the couple for their hard work and said BVS is now looking for a new charity partner to take on the “much-needed” service.
She said: “Martin and Tracey set it up with the best of intentions. They saw a service that needed providing and did their best to fill it. Unfortunately, circumstances have happened and they have had to close.”
Basingstoke MP Maria Miller officially opened the service in August last year. She told The Gazette: “It is sad to see Basingstoke Food Aid 4 U close. I know a number of organisations are looking to see if they can continue the good work that has been put in place, and I will be doing everything I can to ensure that the important service can continue. I think Martin and Tracey have been an inspiration.”