First Bus & Rochdale Foodbank5

First Bus volunteers serve up support for Rochdale Foodbank

  • Teams spends a week helping set up new facilities
  • Support to encourage customer collections from Asda on 23 & 24 May

Volunteers from First Bus are lending a helping hand and some heavy lifting to Rochdale Foodbank this month as the charity gears up for expansion of its service and support to the community.

Team members from the bus operator have spent a week at the charity’s premises on Market Place at the rear of Rochdale shopping centre transforming the warehousing space to create a new Pantry area which will provide other services as well as ambient, chilled and frozen food for a low membership fee.  

Staff and volunteers at the foodbank are also enjoying a larger rest area for breaks and meetings with the former staffroom altered to provide more storage of donated goods.

Kevin Mullin, Social Value Manager at First Bus, said: “We met with the foodbank team as we were preparing to begin the start of our depot in Rochdale and they told us about the plans to re-organise the existing space for more services. As newcomers it was an ideal opportunity for us to get involved in the community.

“Witnessing the impact this has in supporting the daily lives of local people has been very rewarding.”

First Bus volunteers will also be supporting Rochdale Foodbank collections this week (Thursday 23/Friday 24 May) by encouraging customers at the Asda store to purchase and donate much-needed items while shopping for their own homes and families.

Colleagues at the Rochdale depot on Corporation Street have also been making donations – filling a box with 26kgs of food items in the past week.

Iain Wight, Development Manager at Rochdale Foodbank, said: “Rochdale Foodbank only exists because of the goodwill of many people in the community, from the many hundreds of personal food donations every week, to the brilliant volunteer teams, our Referral Partners and our corporate supporters.

“We never take any help for granted and we are delighted to welcome First Bus as a new corporate supporter in 2024. Your team have been a great help as we reorganise our warehouse and we are looking forward to their smiling faces at our Food Drive at Asda in Rochdale on Thursday and Friday this week.

“Food donations are always low at this time of year and Food Drives make a very big difference to our food stocks and our ability to meet the very high demand for our Emergency Food Parcels.”

Rochdale Foodbank has been operating since 2012 and in the past two years has spent £40,000 a year buying food to meet the demand in addition to food donated by the public.  

It is currently providing over 500 food parcels every month - needing over 6,000 kgs of food. Each food parcel contains around 24 items worth £15-£25 depending on family size, enough to provide a minimum of 10 meals over 3 days.  

The collection centre also has a café and advice centre nextdoor which is supported by Citizens Advice every day to help clients with financial services to help manage demand. 

Picture caption: Kevin Mullin with (left) driver Vicky Furlong and Rochdale Foodbank volunteer co-ordinator Irene Wilcox.


Notes to editors

Media enquiries to Richard Harrison, PR Manager, First Bus North & West Yorkshire 07973 668116  

About First Bus 

At First Bus, we are on a mission to grow bus usage. We will get behind initiatives that move people out of cars and onto bus.  

We are one of the UK’s largest bus operators, delivering over a million passenger journeys every day for the communities we serve.  

Transforming our business for the better, we are putting our people and customers at the heart of all we do.  

We are all about making journeys easier for our customers, which is why we were the first national bus operator to rollout Tap On, Tap Off payment technology across our entire UK fleet of 4500 buses. Our First Bus app has also been voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators.  

First Bus is committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. By March 2024, 15% of our will fleet will comprise Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).  

We are passionate about giving back to the communities we serve, which is why we are helping local businesses to progress their own decarbonisation journeys with access to our charging hubs while our buses are on the road. 

We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland, Specialist Passenger Solutions, First Travel Solutions and Ensignbus.  

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