BREAKING through barriers is something Basingstoke Foodbank volunteers do on every occasion they step in to Trinity Methodist Church, in Sarum Hill.

“No-one wants to come here, really,” says Martin Potts, a volunteer of three years, outlining the stigma which can still be attached to requiring food crisis parcels.

“We need to be a friendly face, make them welcome and signpost them to services which can help them.

“One lady told us it is not at all what they expected it to be like here, which shows how people still view foodbanks.”

Around 80 volunteers regularly - classed as helping out at least once a month - work for the food bank, either at its Basingstoke or Tadley bases.

Volunteers greet clients on arrival, sitting with them while another collates their food parcels.

The time the volunteers spend with clients can be crucial, potentially setting them on the right track for eliminating the underlying need of why they require food crisis parcels.

But equally important is just being a listening ear.

Martin added: “The key thing is to show them that people care and have love for them.”

However, interpreting people is just a vital skill as clients may have a wealth of underlying issues of which being in need of food is a result, not a symptom.

Mary Huntley, another volunteer of three years, said: “Sometimes we have to take a step back and not ask so many questions as people cannot talk about it [their background].

“We hope to give them food and a lot more, but you cannot always do the a lot more bit.

“But if you are friendly, you can break down some barriers to help people and point them in the right direction.”

Martin added: “You have to treat everyone equally as you got all sorts of people here. You need to be happy, friendly, empathetic and non-judgemental as needing a food parcel can happen to anybody.”

Basingstoke Foodbank is searching for a new base for its operations as it has outgrown its Trinity Methodist Church site.

To get in touch with suggestions for a new location for Basingstoke Foodbank, or any charity partners wishing to share a premise, email