Here at Caritas Westminster we were thrilled to hear the news on New Year’s Eve that a founding member of one of the projects we have supported for the longest was featured in the King’s first New Years Honours List.
Kristan Payne, founder and first chair of the Borehamwood Foodbank, was awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of her longstanding charitable work.
I was shocked but thoroughly delighted to receive this award. I am very aware that without the full support of St Teresa’s Church and the trustees and volunteers the formation of the Borehamwood Foodbank would have been impossible. I am proud to have played my part in this and that it is still going strong after almost ten years of service to Elstree and Borehamwood. It goes without saying that we hoped by now to be unnecessary but sadly with the present climate the Foodbank is busier than ever. The Foodbank has strengthened the Community as local people, businesses, schools and places of worship all donate to help their neighbours in need.
Soon after we started we realised that just providing food was not enough. The full range of toiletries and household goods were needed and when food, such as pasta, was returned to us we found that help towards fuel to cook and heat homes was also essential. The Foodbank has risen to this challenge as well as the provision of new school uniforms and shoes, our surviving winter projects, Citizens Advice Bureau benefits advice and much more.
For me personally one of my greatest achievements and joys was the formation of our Family Lunches from the start. We were well ahead of the curve in this and it is still unusual to have included the whole family, not just the children. Holiday hunger is a real issue for many and parents often skip meals to provide for the children. It took some persuasion to get parents to eat too. We combined a hot two course meal with an hour of crafts and activities for all ages and it was wonderful to see families develop as they sat and ate together. Being creative is good for our wellbeing and raises our self esteem. We also sent families home with food for the week. I shall never forget the look of sheer delight when one boy spotted a box of cereals in his bag. You really would have thought it was Christmas.
Julian Milner, the current acting Chair of Trustees of the Foodbank said:
Kristan with Bishop John Sherrington and local dignitaries at the launch of the Foodbank in 2013
The Borehamwood Foodbank has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past 10 years, and throughout this period we have been able to improve the lives of many thousands of people in our community. None of this would have happened without the caring dedication and enthusiasm of Kristan.
Many congratulations to Kristan for receiving this most deserved accolade!
The Borehamwood Foodbank was founded in 2013 and was one of the first projects supported by Caritas Westminster as we were starting out. The foodbank has been supported by a Caritas Grant, particularly when setting up the family lunch programme Kristan mentioned. This programme became an inspiration for the holiday clubs which were run by the Caritas Food Collective before the Covid pandemic.
The Cardinal visiting the Foodbank in 2019
Borehamwood Foodbank remained open throughout the pandemic, when the team in charge of the Holiday Lunch programme, began delivering weekly lunch packs – including cooked meals – for the families who would have attended the holiday lunches. More recently, the Foodbank has been able to source support for people to help pay their fuel bills.
None of this would have been possible without Kristan Payne’s vision and leadership and we would like to send our own congratulations to this remarkable lady for her well deserved royal recognition.
Find out more
On our own website:
Volunteers at the Borehamwood Foodbank in November 2022