How Westbury Area Network came to be: A story of community resilience and compassion

Westbury Area Network (WAN) is a local charity that provides emergency food parcels and other support to people in need in Westbury and surrounding villages. But how did this organisation start and what is its vision for the future?

uncategorised Posted By Ryan Child
How Westbury Area Network came to be: A story of community resilience and compassion

The origins of WAN

WAN was born out of the local needs identified during the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020. As the virus spread across the world, many people faced unprecedented challenges such as losing their jobs, falling ill, isolating from their loved ones, or experiencing domestic violence. The demand for food banks and other forms of assistance increased dramatically, and the existing services struggled to cope.

A group of volunteers from headed up by Westbury Town Council decided to join forces and create a network of support for the community. The council started by collecting and distributing food donations from supermarkets, churches, schools, businesses, and individuals. They also set up a referral system with other agencies and held regular meetings so that all agencies delivering support could work closely together. 

Thanks to the help of the Crosspoint charity in Westbury, the food operation was given a home and operated from the crosspoint offices until they themselves could return to working order. 

The establishment of WAN as a charity

As the pandemic continued the operation was headed up by David Clarke, while Ryan Child at the council and Ian Cooper (volunteer) started to work on ways that the food bank's ongoing future could be guaranteed. Many other volunteers helped at the time, often while working jobs and fitting the work in around support for their families and others. Some volunteers were buddied up specifically with residents in need, offering weekly shops, pharmacy pick ups and even dog walking !

In 2021, WAN was formally established as a charity (Reg 1194748) to serve Westbury and nearby villages12. They expanded their team of volunteers and trustees, and secured funding from various sources. 

The vision of WAN for the future

WAN’s mission is to serve the community with compassion and dignity, and to offer food relief through the food bank and also by running the community fridge project on behalf of the town council, offering surplus food collected from supermarkets to the general public. They also hope to create a network of mutual support agencies that can work together to improve the lives of the people of Westbury and the surrounding villages.

We believe that by working together we can make a positive difference in the lives of many people.