My experience of a university placement at Bournemouth Foodbank

My name is Roisin Hickson and I am a 2nd year nutrition student at Bournemouth University. Between our second and third year we are required to do a placement and I chose to do 10 days at Bournemouth’s Foodbank- and I’m so glad I did.

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Initially, I was apprehensive; this was the first time I could put into practice what I have been taught during the last 2 years at university. However, there was no need to be nervous as the food bank team at Bournemouth were incredibly welcoming and made me feel at home.

Bournemouth Foodbank and The Trussell Trust are carrying out fantastic work in providing nutrition to those in crisis. I have been amazed at how generous the public are in donating their time to volunteer at the foodbank, but also the volume of those donating food. Over my first weekend here, there was a Tesco’s food collection, at which I helped by handing out leaflets and even accompanying someone on their food shop. (One gentleman filled a trolley with items amounting to £50 and donated the lot- a truly fantastic example of community spirit!) Over 2 days almost 2 tonnes of food were collected by myself and the team, enabling the foodbank to help those in need. The public were extremely generous with their donations, and I enjoyed being part of it.

Whilst at the food bank, I assessed the nutritional content of the food parcels given to clients and was surprised at how nutritious they were! I was also taken aback by how open the foodbank team were, making minor changes to parcels which would improve the nutritional content. Overall, the clients receive food parcels that are healthy, nutritious and the food can be used to make balanced meals, a positive from all angles.

I feel as though there are misconceptions surrounding food banks, but from witnessing the food bank in full swing, I have been able to realise just how much people donate to the lifeline helping individuals going through a hard time. It is a definite conclusion that the work they do is fantastic and is needed in the community.

Upon reflection, I am so glad I picked to do 10 days of my placement with Bournemouth Foodbank, as it is doing remarkable work within the community, which perhaps goes unnoticed from time to time. I have learnt new things which I could never learn from reading nutrition books and journals, and these will stay with me throughout my nutrition career. I would like to wholeheartedly thank Bournemouth Foodbank for allowing me to do my placement with them and I look forward to seeing their work flourish and thrive.