Torbay Hospital and Torbay Council working collaboratively with local food charities to help vulnerable residents during pandemic

Photo: Paignton Community Larder

Published: 28 May 2020

Torbay Hospital, run by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, has become one of the first acute hospitals in the country to work directly with local food charities, diverting food donations in order to support the community.

During the course of the Coronavirus pandemic, NHS hospitals have been receiving generous donations of food and drinks from businesses as a gesture of goodwill and appreciation to their staff. Staff at Torbay hospital decided to pass these donations on to those residents in greater need in their communities; people in food poverty or unable to access food as a result of the lockdown. The hospital is now also supporting Torbay Food Alliance’s fundraising efforts though their Crowdfunder.

This has been made possible through a partnership with Torbay Food Alliance, a consortium of 12 food banks and community voluntary organisations, which formed as a direct response to the Covid-19 lockdown. The organisations decided to work collaboratively to provide a more co-ordinated response to local need and to better share skills, resources and information. The approach has enabled them to work more closely with the Trust; as well as Torbay Council, which has contributed over £30,000 of funding to help support this much needed service.

Since lockdown, the Alliance has provided more than 70,000 meals to vulnerable people in the community.

A spokesperson for Torbay Food Alliance, said: “It is fantastic that Torbay Hospital has recognised the impact of food poverty on health and wellbeing. They are paying forward the kindness shown to NHS staff by passing food donations on our food banks, which is helping us to feed more people at a time when demand is greater than ever.”

Adel Jones, Director of Transformation and Partnerships for the Trust said: “As the first Integrated Care Organisation in the country, we have long held the belief that our role is to be an active partner in our community, to support people to help each other, to develop strengths and live fulfilling, independent lives.

“Our job is to help people when they feel vulnerable and need care or a helping hand to get them back on their feet. So, it makes sense that we support Torbay Food Alliance. Food is a basic necessity and good nutrition is a really important part of being healthy and feeling well. I am delighted that we can play our part in supporting our community during these challenging times.”

Councillor Christine Carter, Cabinet Member for Corporate and Community Services, Torbay Council, said “Throughout the pandemic our response has very much focused on partnership working and working with the community. We are extremely proud to be supporting such a worthy cause, which is why we invested so much to ensure those most at need within Torbay have access to food at a time when demand on foodbanks is at an all-time high.”

More information about Torbay Food Alliance is available at

A donations page is also available at