THE most famous 'food bank' in Oxfordshire is changing its name after years of confusion – because it's not actually a food bank.

After 11 years of distributing surplus food to local organisations, Oxford Food Bank has changed its name and relaunched as Oxford Food Hub.

The change was decided after volunteers, trustees, and staff at the charity all agreed that the new name would more accurately reflect the work of the organisation and stop any confusion that the charity directly distributes food to those in need.

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Manager Cathy Howard said: “We want to show people that we tackle the problem of food waste in Oxfordshire.

Oxford Food Bank rebrands itself Oxford Food Hub

Oxford Food Bank rebrands itself Oxford Food Hub

“The new name is more accurate and reflects what we have always done - rescuing food that would otherwise go waste and supplying it to charities who are feeding the community.”

Oxford Food Hub collects surplus fresh food, such as fruit, vegetables, dairy and baked goods, from supermarkets and wholesalers, and delivers it free of charge to other local charities.

This makes the organisation different from other food banks, which generally handle longer-life goods and supply them directly to individuals and families.

The charity’s main aims are both environmental and social.

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It tries to reduce the waste of food, but also share the surplus food with those who need it.

Oxford Food Bank rebrands itself Oxford Food Hub

Oxford Food Bank rebrands itself Oxford Food Hub

Operations coordinator Marcelo Pollack said: “We deal in much larger quantities than a traditional food bank - over one tonne a day.

“But we don’t give food directly to individuals at our warehouse - we are a distribution hub, supplying all the excellent local services that cook and distribute food to people.”

The food hub team supply food to a wide range of local organisations including homeless shelters, mental health charities, children’s groups, dementia clubs, and hospices.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, many of the charities supported by the food hub have been providing deliveries and takeaways in place of sit-down meals for their clients meaning the demand for food supply has gone up over the pandemic.

When the second national lockdown was announced, the charity took surplus food from pubs and cinemas that were forced to close, to ensure no food went to waste.

Oxford Food Bank rebrands itself Oxford Food Hub

Oxford Food Bank rebrands itself Oxford Food Hub

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The hub has also played a role in distributing 200 tonnes of Government-supplied dried goods to charities.

Administrator Emma Tinker said: “We’re always on the lookout for new groups to help us distribute food.

“They needn’t be charities, we are happy to supply organisations such as schools and social enterprises.

“Over the last year, lots of new groups have formed and they’re doing amazing work, working with communities all over Oxfordshire.”

Manager Ms Howard added: “We would like to pay tribute to the food banks of Oxfordshire, who are on the frontline doing an incredible job - providing food and essentials help to the most vulnerable.”