Features

Tonnes of Good

PHOTO-2020-04-16-14-49-19Donations ready for delivery to the foodbank

James Paterson reflects on the success of the Tin in a Bin (TinaB) network – which he established at the start of lockdown with fellow Wanstead resident Julie Harvey – and explains why the initiative is still vital

It all began so simply! Julie Harvey, a regular donor to the Redbridge Foodbank via St Mary’s in Overton Drive, set up a system outside her house where neighbours could drop goods to be added to the church collections. Julie decorated her front windows with signs asking people to “Put a tin in the bin,” and left her recycling box out to collect these.

When lockdown was imposed, churches had to close their doors to the public, and one immediate consequence was the end to regular weekly donations on Sundays; the foodbank was deprived of an important supplier, hampering their vital work. So, I came up with a solution: a large plastic chest in front of my house where people could drop donations instead. The problem was, Drummond Road is neither very central nor convenient. Nevertheless, the availability of the two drop-off points at mine and Julie’s houses was publicised on the Wanstead Community Hub Facebook page.

Immediately, donations started to come in. Amazingly, people also volunteered to become drop-off points as well, and the Tin in a Bin Network was born! It grew rapidly, and the network now has 35 collectors across Wanstead, South Woodford and Aldersbrook. It has become affectionately known as TinaB! Responding to requests, we also set up a PayPal pool for those who preferred to donate money.

TinaB volunteers bring donations to me and Julie. They’re sorted and taken to the foodbank. The first week, incredibly, saw donations of 700kg. The second week, we received 1,345kg, which is still a record. We now drop an average of 1,000kg to the foodbank weekly, reaching over 10 tonnes at the end of June. As at 5 September, the total donated to the foodbank was 16.65 tonnes! In addition, we distributed surplus food the foodbank didn’t need to local initiatives supporting people in crisis, including hotels housing rough sleepers, Frank Charles’ worthy Feed the Streetz and the Magpie Project, to name a few. These donations weighed around another two tonnes.

Julie and I are so thankful to our community for their continuing support. We are also grateful to the Wanstead Village Directory for frequently publicising the network. Sadly, the need for the foodbank has increased steadily during the pandemic, and the continuing crisis – with the end of the furlough scheme – is likely to increase the number of people who rely on its emergency support.

So, in addition to seeking additional drop-off points, we are now planning to approach other churches and schools to see if we can further expand the network. We are also publicising the initiative on a wider basis to encourage people in other areas to start their own TinaB networks.


The current Tin in a Bin network is as follows:
  • 8 Drummond Road
  • 43 Langley Drive
  • 46 Overton Drive
  • 36 Felstead Road
  • 46 Buckingham Road
  • 17 Wanstead Place
  • 33 Nightingale Lane
  • 36 Dangan Road
  • 39 Leicester Road
  • 1 Warwick Road
  • 34 Seagry Road
  • 6 Woodcote Road
  • 2 Church Path
  • 76A New Wanstead
  • 106 Belgrave Road
  • 96 Harpenden Road, Aldersbrook
  • 28 Clavering Road, Aldersbrook
  • 36 Dover Road, Aldersbrook
  • 90 Wanstead Park Avenue, Aldersbrook
  • 4 Forest Close, Snaresbrook
  • 33 Deynecourt Gardens
  • 10 Eaton Rise
  • 14 Wellington Road
  • 29 Avon Way, South Woodford
  • 30 Rose Avenue, South Woodford
  • 27 Pelham Road, South Woodford
  • 99 Cadogan Gardens, South Woodford
  • 38 Eastwood Road, South Woodford
  • 18 Cranbourne Avenue,
  • 1 Hurstwood Avenue, South Woodford
  • 12 Richmond Way
  • 36 Bressey Grove
  • Outside Brading Food and Wine, Brading Crescent, Aldersbrook
The list of items needed is as follows:
  • Razors and shaving foam
  • Tooth paste and toothbrushes
  • Tinned Meat
  • Tinned Tomatoes
  • Tinned Potatoes
  • Tinned Fruit
  • Rice Pudding / Custard
  • Jam
  • Long Life Juice
  • Sugar
  • Toilet Paper
  • Small Bags of Rice
  • Shampoo
  • Squash
  • Deodorants
  • Tins or Packets of Custard
  • Peanut Butter
  • Shower Gel
  • Small Jar of Coffee/ tea bags
  • Small Multipack Snacks