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Surprising where inspiration for a CSR day can come from!

photo of Tim Shaw and pallets of food at the foodbank

My CSR day, through Minster Law, this year started, of all places, at a funeral for a friend. His memorial service was held at The Message Trust, based on an unassuming industrial estate on the edge of Wythenshawe, Manchester, where Simon had been a regular attendee.

Until ten years ago the site had been derelict and unwanted, but through the efforts of the Message Trust members it had been transformed into two separate and distinct buildings: the Church and a separate Community Hub.

The Hub was a revelation, open to all members of the local community, with no links to The Message Trust needed, it incorporates a café, skills centre, and a community grocery which boasts an array of fruit, veg, baked and tinned goods, treats, household items and even pet food.

Many of the volunteers in the Hub had previously struggled with addiction or were ex-offenders, looking to rebuild their lives with the support of the Message Trust.

And so it was that I and Lee, my colleague at Minster Law, arrived at the Community Hub one cold March morning to spend a day helping to sort and stack at the Community Grocery Distribution Centre. The warehouse was filled with pallets sourced from supermarkets and elsewhere. Our job for the day was to open the pallets, sort the contents, and stack them in crates by item.

Once supplied with safety boots and hi-viz tabards we got to work. From medjool dates to Serrano ham, cake mixes to pad thai kits, Soreen loaves to panettone; the variety of items was incredible. We’d dressed for the cold, but within an hour we were shedding layers as the work warmed us up.

After a break for lunch in the Hub’s café, we returned to our work and the sorted crates grew ever higher. Eventually we ran out of crates and resorted to using apple boxes, but by the end of the day I could still count over 20 pallets which had yet to be opened.

The Hub is an important resource for some of the most vulnerable in the local community and I am committed to return and help them to support others.

The Message Community Grocery can be found across a number of locations in the North of England, so for more information, just click the link above.