Barnsley Foodbank is spreading a little Christmas cheer to local people in need, with help from its close neighbours at Mercedes-Benz Vans’ Wentworth Park used vehicle sales headquarters.
The manufacturer has provided a nearly-new Sprinter for use by the charity, just in time for the busy festive period when many struggle to make ends meet.
Barnsley Foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust’s network of local groups, which support families and individuals through 428 outlets nationwide. In 2016/17 the Trust provided more than 1.1 million emergency three-day food supply packs in the UK.
Less than a year old, the Sprinter 313 CDI is the first van to be operated directly by Barnsley Foodbank – the charity has previously used vans provided by Fareshare Yorkshire, a charity which receives large donations of surplus food from supermarkets and producers, and redistributes them to community groups across the county.
The Mercedes-Benz Used Commercial Vehicle Centre is located on the Wentworth Park industrial development at Tankersley, which is part of the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley. Here, the van was prepared to stringent Approved Used standards by expert, factory-trained technicians.
Formerly one of the manufacturer’s own demonstration vehicles, the Sprinter is finished in smart silver paintwork and wears Barnsley Foodbank’s eye-catching logo, as well as sporty wheel trims. It is also fitted with a handy rear step.
Working together: From left, Gareth Batty, Chief Executive of Fareshare Yorkshire; Leanne Buddle and Mick Glover of Mercedes-Benz Vans; and Barnsley Foodbank Co-ordinator Connor Hayes
Like all Mercedes-Benz vans, the Sprinter came equipped as standard with a market-leading armoury of active and passive safety features. It is the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Service Care plan, and will be maintained by the Wentworth Park workshop team.
Foodbank Co-ordinator Connor Hayes said: “While for most of us Christmas is a time for celebration, the combined pressures of winter cold, school holidays and the festive period mean some people struggle to cope. This makes it a very busy time for organisations like ours.
“With its huge cargo area and comfortable, driver-friendly cab, the Sprinter will be a great asset for our volunteer drivers who collect donations from supermarkets, schools, churches, partners and local businesses. It will certainly enable us to help more people in need.”
He continued: “The vehicle is virtually brand new and looks really smart, so we hope it will also help to raise the Foodbank’s profile locally. We’re extremely grateful to Mercedes-Benz for their support.”
Steve Bridge, Mercedes-Benz Vans Managing Director, said: “We are delighted that the team at our Wentworth Park complex can be good neighbours to Barnsley Foodbank. I’m sure this safe, reliable and stylish Sprinter will quickly prove its worth to the charity’s hard-working volunteers.”
Colleagues at Mercedes-Benz Vans UK voted to support the Barnsley charity and a similar foodbank near their head office in Milton Keynes, as part of the manufacturer’s ‘Give Back Programme’. This corporate social responsibility project, which also supports national charities Parkinson’s UK, Cancer Research and MIND, allows employees to spend time helping worthy causes.