About Purley Food Hub

Purley Food Hub is an emergency food bank that helps local people in crisis. It was set up in January 2013 by Churches Together in Purley & Kenley and became a registered charity with elected Trustees in July 2013. Since then we have provided over 250,000 meals to more than 28,000 clients and family members in need.

Clients are referred to us by around 130 Food Ticket Partners. These are agencies and professionals across Croydon borough including jobcentres, teams and departments of Croydon Council, hostels and refuges, children’s centres and schools, mental health services and a wide range of voluntary organisations.

We provide clients and their families with enough tinned and other non-perishable food for three meals a day for three days. Since the start of the Covid pandemic we have delivered supplies direct to clients’ homes, and this will continue for the foreseeable future.

We also work closely with local voluntary organisations, particularly the two Food Stops at Old Lodge Lane Baptist Church in Purley and St Francis Church, Monks Hill, Selsdon. Clients don’t need to be referred to go to a Food Stop. These are open on Fridays and visitors are able to choose around £20 of fresh and frozen food and non-perishable items for a payment of £3.50.

Purley Food Hub is run entirely by volunteers – we currently have around 150 from the churches and local community. Food is donated by local churches, schools, businesses, uniformed groups, community organisations like the Rotary Club and Women’s Institute and many families and individuals.

As well as providing food and toiletries we also offer individual help and advice through our team of Client Support Volunteers, who work alongside colleagues at the Food Hub and also at the Purley Food Stop.

Who's Who at the Food Hub

The work of Purley Food Hub is overseen by a Board of Trustees, currently nine in number, who are elected by the member churches of Churches Together in Purley & Kenley. Trustees have legal responsibility for governance and good practice, while the Management Committee look after day-to-day activity.


Chair of Trustees: Trevor Jones

Trevor is a member of Christ Church Purley where he has been a Church Warden and Church Council member. Until retiring in 2018 he was a Health & Safety Inspector, his specialist areas including food and also chemical industry sites in southern England. He was previously a Trustee of Abbeyfield Purley Society.

Noel Brownsell

A parishioner at St John the Baptist Church Purley, Noel enjoys bringing the donations from fellow parishioners each month to the Food Hub at Purley United Reformed Church. He was a foster parent for 30 years specialising in the care of children with disabilities and also part of Croydon’s Shared Lives scheme. He retired from selling heavy Scania trucks 12 years ago.

Mark Dakin

Previously a Food Hub volunteer, Mark has volunteered for several years with Croydon Churches Floating Shelter at Purley Baptist Church and Christ Church. A member of Purley Baptist, he is a solicitor with a legal firm in Croydon, specialising in defending people at magistrates’ and crown courts. Daughter Rebecca is a Food Hub volunteer.

Rev Lisa Fairman-Brown

Lisa, Curate at Christ Church Purley, joined Christ Church in the summer of 2020 and was elected a Food Hub Trustee in October 2021. Before being called to the ministry she was a cheese expert working for a major French dairy company, and a secondary school French teacher. She is married to Chris with two sons in their 20s.

Shade Odupelu

With over 20 years’ senior human resources experience in the education, charity, religious and other sectors, Shade is Interim Director of People for Re-engage (previously known as Contact the Elderly). She is a member of Purley Baptist Church and a trustee with Langley House Trust.

Nick Pannell

A member of St Mary’s Church Addington, Nick and wife Lesley also help at The Vine food bank in New Addington and run the Croydon Churches Floating Shelter each year at St Mary’s. A maths teacher for 34 years, Nick runs a shore-based sailing school in Croydon and is a Royal Yachting Association senior instructor.

Rev Fiona Weaver

Fiona was elected as a Trustee in October 2021 after serving a year as a co-opted member of the board. She is Vicar of St Mark’s and St Swithun’s Churches Purley, and in addition to her pastoral work is a volunteer driver with the Food Hub. She also had the first yellow wheelie bin to collect food donations installed in St Mark’s.

Terry Whittaker

A member of Purley United Reformed Church since the early 1980s and an elder for the past three years, Terry has helped with the children’s Sunday club for more than 20 years. Initially she was a nurse before switching to primary school teaching when her children were growing up. She is now retired.

Annabel Wright

A Food Hub volunteer, Annabel (Christ Church) is Financial Director for the Artisan Brandt software and IT services group. She and her family are keen supporters of the Food Hub – daughter Winnie is also a volunteer and swims for us in the Purley Swimathon along with brothers Gilbert and Ernest.


The Food Hub Management Committee takes care of day-to-day business and consists of:
Louise Willmer (Joint Chair and Stock Controller), Helen Harris (Joint Chair), Jean Ludlow (Administrator), Brian Gibbs (IT), Joanna Walker (Treasurer) and Ros Shepherd.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the arrow for answers to the some of the questions we regularly receive from Food Hub users, supporters and members of the public.

What is the difference between the Food Hub and a Food Bank?

The Food Hub is a food bank-plus. When Churches Together in Purley & Kenley were setting up Purley Food Hub they realised that clients might need more than food parcels. So as well as being a repository for food, we act as a hub for other activities such as offering clients extra support, signposting them to other appropriate agencies and holding joint sessions with advisers from Croydon Welfare Rights Team.

How do you know someone needs food?

The agencies and professionals we work with (our Ticket Partners) are aware of their clients’ circumstances and will refer them to us if they are in need of food. We are not a “drop in” – each client is referred to us by one of our partners who knows the client’s particular situation.

Do users contact you direct? How do you get a referral?

No, clients don’t contact us direct. We have around 130 Ticket Partners who have clients in need of help. Instead of each partner distributing food themselves, they refer clients to us and we provide the client and their family with food parcels. To put it another way, we act as fulfilment agents similar to ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ for sellers on Amazon Marketplace.

Do you only want food donations?

We also welcome cash donations, which we use to:

      • buy stocks of food and other items we are short of
      • buy bread for clients, the only fresh food we distribute but cannot store
      • buy bus tickets, if required, for clients who collect food in person (pre Covid-19)
      • cover the Food Hub’s incidental running expenses. We don’t have any paid staff so there are no wage bills.

Do you accept out of date food?

No, we don’t accept any food that’s out of date, past its ‘best before’ date or if the tin or packaging is damaged in any way. We do not give out anything that we wouldn’t accept ourselves when buying from a shop or supermarket. It may be the only food our clients have and it is vital that it is in the best possible condition when they receive it. As an independent charity it is our responsibility always to protect our clients’ health, and that includes good quality food.

Do you take clothing?

No, we don’t take clothing, or crockery or cutlery – unfortunately we don’t have the storage space. There are several charity shops nearby in Purley which will be glad to receive donations, and Croydon Refugee Day Centre will also be pleased to receive clothing on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Do you need any more volunteers?

At present we are operating with a reduced team to comply with social distancing and so are currently not looking for new volunteers. If/when this changes and we start recruiting again, we will make an announcement on our website and social media, so please do stay in touch.

Where and when can I drop off food?

We are open to receive donations each Wednesday and Saturday morning, 10.00am to 12.00noon, at Purley United Reformed Church, 906 Brighton Road, Purley CR8 2LN. We also have collection points in several stores in South Croydon, Purley and Coulsdon plus a growing number of yellow wheelie bins in the south of the borough. For details see the Supporting the Food Hub page.

If you have a question that we haven’t answered here, please send us a message using the form on the Contact page.

Landmark events at Purley Food Hub

January 2013: Purley Food Hub set up by local churches.
July 2013: Food Hub registered as a charity with elected Trustees.
March 2015: 2,231 people fed in past year, 5,270 to date.
August 2017: passed 10,000 people fed and 90,000 meals provided.
December 2017: 100,000th meal provided. Busiest month ever: 4,000+ meals given out, 30% up on Dec 2016.
22 December 2018: Busiest day to date: 1,017 meals in one session. Busiest year ever: 30,000+ meals overall.
27 July 2019: 150,000th meal issued.
21 December 2019: A new busiest ever session – 1,098 meals provided.
April 2020: New home delivery service launched in response to Covid-19 pandemic. Second busiest month ever, 5,022 meals provided.
23 September 2020: 200,000th meal landmark passed.
December 2020: Almost 49,000 meals provided in 2020, by far the most in a year since the Food Hub started and 60 per cent more than the whole of 2019.
October 2021: Magnificent response from 43 local schools, nurseries and churches to our annual Harvest appeal.
December 2021: 5,184 meals delivered – the highest monthly figure since 2013.
22 January 2022: All-time total of meals provided passes the 250,000 mark.
December 2022: Food for 5,634 meals provided, our highest-ever monthly total. Record number also of pre-Christmas donations – more than 15,000 items received.
15 January 2023: An anniversary to mark rather than celebrate as the Food Hub completes 10 years of operation. A thanksgiving service is planned for June.
March 2023: Our second-busiest March ever takes the overall total of meals provided past 300,000.

Ring out the old, ring in the new

When we relaunched our website in January 2021 we took the opportunity to freshen up the Food Hub logo. The change did not affect our existing livery or publicity material – the original identifier is familiar to many and we continue to use it. However, the new image is now standard for online and printed media.


Policy Statement

Purley Food Hub is committed to protecting the rights and privacy of clients, volunteers and others in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018. The policy applies to all volunteers and others involved in the work of Purley Food Hub.

As a matter of good practice, individuals working with Purley Food Hub who have access to personal data, that is personal information which is processed either electronically or on organised paper records, will be expected to have read and to comply with this policy.

Legal requirements

The purpose of the GDPR 2018 is to protect the rights and privacy of individuals and to ensure that processing of personal information is not carried out without their knowledge, nor, wherever possible, without their consent.

GDPR requires us to register the fact that we hold personal data and to acknowledge the right of ‘subject access’ – clients, volunteers and others must have the right to copies of their own data.

Any misuse of personal information will be taken seriously and appropriate measures will be taken where necessary.

Managing data protection

We will ensure that Purley Food Hub details are, and remain, registered with the Information Commissioner.

Purpose of data held by Purley Food Hub

We process personal information to enable us to provide a service for the benefit of the public in a particular geographical area as specified in our constitution; administer membership records; fundraise and promote the interests of the charity; manage our clients and volunteers; maintain our own accounts and records.

Data protection principles

In terms of the GDPR 2018, Purley Food Hub is the ‘data controller’, and as such determines the purpose for which, and the manner in which, any personal information is, or is to be, processed. We will make every effort to ensure that we have:-

  1. Fairly and lawfully processed personal data
    We will state our intentions on processing the data and state if, and to whom, we intend to give the data. We will also provide an indication of the duration the data will be kept.
  2. Processed data for limited and lawful purposes
    We will not use data for purposes other than those agreed by data subjects (clients, volunteers, and others) as specified by our Privacy Notices. If external organisations request the data they must state the purpose of processing as specified by our Privacy Notices, agree not to copy the data for further use and agree to abide by the GDPR 2018 and the Purley Food Hub Data Protection Policy.
  3. Only retained adequate, relevant and not excessive data
    We will monitor the data held for our purposes, ensuring we hold neither too much nor too little data in respect of the individuals about whom we hold data. If information given or obtained is excessive for such purposes, it will be deleted or destroyed.
  4. Kept data accurate and up-to-date
    It is the responsibility of Purley Food Hub to act upon notification of any changes in personal data, amending records where necessary. Organisations will be asked to update their information once a year. Volunteers are requested to ensure that any changes to their data are notified to Purley Food Hub as soon as possible.
  5. Not kept data longer than necessary
    We discourage the retention of data for longer than it is required. All personal data will be deleted or destroyed by us after an appropriate period which will depend on the type of data.
    Processed data in accordance with the individual’s rights
    All individuals on whom Purley Food Hub holds data have the right to:
    • be informed upon request of all the information held about them within 30 days.
    • the removal and correction of any inaccurate data about them.
    • compensation if they can show that they have been caused damage by any contravention of the Regulation
    • prevent the processing of their data for the purpose of direct marketing
  6. Kept data secure
    Appropriate technical and organisational measures will be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of data.
  7. Not transferred data to countries or territories outside the European Economic Area, unless the country has adequate protection for the individual
    Data will not be transferred to countries outside the European Economic Area without the explicit consent of the individual. Purley Food Hub takes particular care to be aware of this when publishing information on the internet, which can be accessed from anywhere in the globe.
  8. Robust breach detection, investigation and reporting procedures in place

The Trustees have also drawn up policies covering:

  • Health & Safety
  • Safeguarding
  • Bullying & Harassment
  • Complaints & Discipline

These are available on request to the Food Hub’s Administrator at purleyfoodhub@gmail.com.