My shift working at a Watford foodbank could not have been more rewarding - but it was impossible to miss the very real fear that its work will keep getting more necessary.

From St Albans Road, One Vision delivers food from a joyful building, constantly full of laughter.

The charity delivers cooked meals, bags of ingredients, recipes, and long-term health support for people struggling to get by.

But all the while, they are planning new ways to keep ramping up their services in anticipation that the crises facing Watford families may just get worse.

As part of an effort to help people cook their recipes themselves, hundreds of bags of ingredients are sent out alongside cooked meals. Extra food items that do not fit the recipes are also placed in these bags, so no donation is wasted.

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Nirmala Singhvi MBE, chef and hub lead at One Vision, said: “Everything runs like clockwork. We are proud of the way we run things and awards like our 5-star food hygiene rating, but now we need to make so much, £600 will only last two weeks.”

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Volunteer cook Pam Robertson said: “There are usually three or four of us cooking. We definitely have fun - I wouldn’t be here so often if I didn’t. They first asked if I could cook around 20 meals for an hour or two. Now, some days we cook 100 meals.”

One Vision’s support is available to those referred by groups such as housing providers, the police and care professionals. Sometimes worried neighbours refer households and some struggling people ask for help themselves.

The foodbank prides itself on its inclusivity and ability to tailor its support. Some bags were even ready for Afghan refugees in nearby hotels.

Sorting the bags is a big job. On Thursday mornings a special needs class from West Herts College takes on the task. Greeted with hugs by the volunteers, the students quickly set about their goal of packing 100 bags by the afternoon.

Watford Observer:

Vanessa Day from West Herts College sorting bags to be given out

Class tutor John Allum said: “We want them to do something to help the community and this is perfect. It is vital work and they’ve come on so far.”

Another teacher, Ray Domeney, added: “It's so vital, and with the cost of living things are going to get worse, I have started to worry about myself, but it’s the young families I’m really worried about as things go on.”

Drivers come to pick up the bags and meals and drop them off outside nearby homes. The charity said this is one area where it is in real need of support.

Watford Observer:

Driver Paul Wiseman collecting deliveries 

Nirmala said: “We want to let people know they can help and if they can only give just one or two hours it will help so much. We really need drivers, and the drivers love doing it.”

Aidan Turnock, 22, is the youngest volunteer, and the charity hopes to get more young people as regulars.

He said: “I run a lot of the admin and IT, but I help everywhere I’m needed, a bit of cooking or a bit of packing. I really want to help people.”

Watford Observer:

Aidan Turnock going over food labelling

The charity plans to increase the number of classes on site, put recipe books together and find other ways to solve cost-of-living problems, not just keep people hanging on. They are also happy to provide recipes to anyone interested.

Founder Enoch Kanagaraj said: "A charity needs to have structure to support a community, but it also needs to be a family. We want everyone to feel welcome." 

Those who need support, want to volunteer, or who wish to refer others can get in touch with One Vision on:

Phone: 01923 372699