Morecambe Bay Foodbank Founder wins Public Servant of the Year Award
Founder and manager of Morecambe Bay Foodbank, Annette Smith, has been awarded the prestigious Guardian Public Servant of the Year Award 2018, for outstanding public service and making a real difference to people’s lives.
Annette was shortlisted alongside four other nominees for this year’s award for her incredible work at Morecambe Bay Foodbank. Following an online public vote, Annette was announced the winner at the Public Service Awards ceremony on 27 November 2018.
Having seen that families were struggling to get by in her hometown, Annette set up the Foodbank from a cupboard in the back of a Methodist church in 2012. The foodbank now operates with over 50 regular volunteers from a community centre in the West End of the town, receives and distributes over four tonnes of food each month and last year alone it have out nearly six thousand food parcels to people in need including 1229 children.
The Foodbank, part of The Trussell Trust’s network of UK Foodbanks has worked hard under Annette’s leadership to innovate and respond to the needs of their clients. Working with volunteers, Annette came up with Cold Boxes, for those with no electricity, Kettle Boxes for those with only hot water and no cooking facilities and Starter Boxes for those who have been made homeless or who have had to move suddenly – often because of domestic violence.
Over the past six years, Annette – who has battled health issues of own for many years, making her achievements all the more remarkable – has worked tirelessly to provide food to people in crisis and the numbers needing help have spiralled since the introduction of Universal Credit to the Morecambe area in 2017.
Morecambe Bay Foodbank now also gives out stocks of toiletries, feminine hygiene items, washing powder, pet food, toothbrushes and baby supplies are all collected from the general public for distribution to clients. In addition to all this, Annette Smith has formed relationships with businesses across all sorts of sectors from the local bus company, Stagecoach, who provide free transport for clients to get to and from the Foodbank, to Johnson’s Cleaners, who have agreed to launder the school uniform donations that the Foodbank collects to give to pupils who can’t otherwise afford them.
Annette Smith commented: “I wish that the Foodbank didn’t need to exist. We set it up with the express aim of closing it down again, but sadly demand is very high at the moment. This award is a reflection of the amazing work done by a brilliant team of volunteers without whom I couldn’t do what I do. I’m so honoured to receive this award but it really is a testament to an incredible team.”
Chair of Trustees at Morecambe Bay Foodbank, Joanna Young, also commented: “Annette Smith is a remarkable woman. I am so proud to work with Annette and the whole amazing team at Morecambe Bay Foodbank. This is absolutely brilliant and I am over the moon that she has been recognised in this way. Public Servant of the Year is a huge accolade and Annette is truly deserving of this outstanding award”
All of our trustees, volunteers and partners are so proud of this amazing achievement – congratulations Annette!