Matlock church charity partners with Sainsbury's as foodbank and community services expand

A Matlock church charity has teamed up with a leading supermarket as it makes plans to expand its foodbank and community outreach services to more parts of Derbyshire.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 12:08 pm

River Network has partnered with the local Sainsbury’s store to source stock for the foodbank, which has been praised for its innovative delivery model.

Chief executive Terry Eckersley said: “We are a bit like a Uber Eats for the marginalised, we’ve also just opened another local foodstore and distribution service.

"I’m really happy to have partnered with such an amazing company, I love its philanthropic foundations and it’s a great strategic fit. We are looking forward to serving the county with their support.”

River Network chief executive Terry Eckersley and Sainsbury's manager John Bailey.

Store manager John Bailey added: “We are really happy to have partnered with River Network to help feed the local families who need our support, and I know all our colleagues will be excited too.”

River Network now has a growing team over 45 staff and lots of volunteers. A pilot expansion into Chesterfield has proved such a success that teams are now spreading to Derby, Alfreton, Ashbourne, Buxton and Glossop.

Its work encompasses a huge range of community support services, from help with homeschooling to housing and homelessness, regular youth nights and coffee mornings.

Its expansion so far has been aided by the Government’s Kickstart scheme, which has seen the charity take on several young people for six months placements in which they can gain vital employability skills via a bespoke training programme.

River Network is still recruiting to fill more Kickstart roles, and anyone interested should contact their local Job Centre or work coach.

Terry said: “Our development plan allows us to potentially employ the Kickstarter after their contract ends, if capability and funding allows.

“As in-person opportunities have continued to open up we are now also engaging in new community development work initiatives with not just the young and families but the older and wider communities all across Derbyshire and beyond.

“We are now operating out of an ever increasing number of areas, venues, community buildings and locations.”

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