The leader of Bradford Council, Coun Susan Hinchcliffe has presented Dave Downes, deputy centre manager, general manager at The Broadway, with a large card to thank them for the use of their space for free during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Broadway Food Hub was the district’s short-term response to support shielding and vulnerable individuals by providing home deliveries of essential food items.
The hub at the shopping centre, was managed by Jenny Cryer from Bradford Council, and council staff, The Broadway, Incommunities and other partners all worked together to package and deliver more than 6,000 food parcels to vulnerable and shielding people across the district since the crisis began.
Using The Broadway as a distribution warehouse whilst the public mall was closed and retailer stock deliveries temporarily ceased, allowed ample space to create, pack and load the food boxes. Plus the shopping centre was also used as a general warehouse facility for the range of staple food items approved by Public Health England.
The team who operated the Food Hub was made up of council staff from children’s services, sport and leisure, passenger transport along with Incommunities managers and logistics staff. Parcels were delivered to residents across the district seven days a week by Bradford Council’s Passenger Transport Service whose normal role is to transport disabled children and adults.
The Broadway Food Hub was part of the district’s broader food offer which included a home shopping service, established food banks, neighbourhood food banks and community led projects to help some of the district’s most vulnerable residents during the height of the lockdown measures.
The council provided additional financial support to food banks which have scaled up to provide nearly three times as much food support as they did prior to the crisis. The council also provided some short term support for neighbourhood and community provision.
Ian Ward, general manager at The Broadway Shopping Centre, said: “Whilst all but essential shops closed down during the height of the pandemic, myself and the team at The Broadway wanted to continue to support people in the district in any way possible. The Centre is a hub for the local community and even though it wasn’t possible for residents of Bradford to enjoy the space and retailers we’re home to, we wanted to play our part in supporting and protecting our community’s most vulnerable.
“The service area of The Broadway is a large space which is usually busy around the clock with deliveries of stock for retailers – this area was perfect for the food hub as it offered all the facilities required at short notice.
“Our team cleared two, large stock rooms which had electrical provisions for fridge freezers and were located close to the loading bays for the buses and vans used to distribute the food parcels. We were even able to provide office space that served as briefing and break out rooms for all the volunteers who helped make this vital service possible.”
Coun Hinchcliffe said: “We are so grateful for The Broadway allowing us to use their space for the food hub. It allowed us to be able to quickly put together the vital supplies needed by some of the district’s most vulnerable residents when they needed them the most.
“I’d like to thank The Broadway and all those who dedicated their time and worked so hard to help at the food hub.”