Bury St Edmunds charity welcomes Asda’s food bank collection u-turn

Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive of Gatehouse
Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive of Gatehouse
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A Bury St Edmunds charity has welcomed a decision by Asda to reinstate unmanned food bank collection points after a backlash by customers.

The supermarket giant caused controversy after a review on policy prompted a ban on unmanned collection points in stores.

However, following a public outcry it has now reversed its decision. Among the charities hit by the ban was Gatehouse, in Bury, which runs a food bank and receives about 15 per cent of its donations from Asda - enough to feed about five families a week.

Amanda Bloomfield, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We’re really pleased Asda has reversed its decision. The foundation of the food bank is that the local community are able to give immediate practical help to those most vulnerable and this was obviously the best way to do that. A big thank you to all of those who have supported us over the last week with donations while the situation has been ongoing.”

The charity receives about 50 per cent of its food from a collection at Waitrose and the rest through other organisations and direct donations.

An Asda spokesman said it believed its initial decision ‘would benefit local good causes’. He said: “On this occasion our customers and colleagues have told us they understand our intentions but prefer us to continue to give charities more options to maximise donations. We are therefore reinstating unmanned collection points.”