SWINDON Foodbank’s new project manager wants the organisation to increase its contact with housebound people.

The foodbank, which was set up in 2005, is one of the oldest in the country, and Andrew Hill believes that while it is good at helping those able to leave the house, the elderly or disabled in need who cannot get out and about can be overlooked.

He first started volunteering for the charity, which gives out food parcels to those in need, in October 2012, and has stood in as boss when the previous project manager has been on holiday.

Andrew, who started his job yesterday, said: “I am a born-again Christian and this is God’s calling for me.

“When the previous project manager, David Hartridge, took over he had several months away and so I stood in for him.

“When he got back I became the assistant project manager and when David stood down he encouraged me to apply for the position, with the rest being history.

“I feel very honoured to be given this responsibility but the people that really make what we do possible are the many volunteers, donors and supporters in and around our town.”

Over recent years the foodbank has seen a steady increase in the number of people who turn to it for help.

However, while the number has not dropped, the rise in users appears to have tailed off in recent months.

“Since the new year the number of people coming has stopped increasing, which is obviously fantastic,” said Andrew.

“What we would much rather see, though, is a decline in users, but it is good that there appears to be fewer people in need.

“There is still a need within Swindon for what we do and it is important we carry on.”

As project manager, Andrew’s main goal is to find out if the foodbank can help those who cannot visit on their own to get food.

He said: “We find that many of our users are of a relatively young age, by which I mean they are not elderly.

“Many of them are able-bodied and so can leave their house, pick up a voucher and come here.

“I’ve spoken with carers who have come down and said they vouch that their patient has absolutely no food in the cupboards but is not in a position to leave their home.

“I am determined to find out what we can do to help with that.”