asdaSupermarket chain Asda has confirmed it is reinstating food donation points in all its stores.

The supermarket had previously said it would remove unmanned donation points, as of 1st March. In the St Leonards store, this meant Hastings Food Bank, the Seaview Project, Cat Call, Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary and Bluebell Ridge Cat Rehoming Centre would all have to remove their collection points.

The decision to ban unmanned collections was taken by Asda’s head office following reports that donations had been stolen in some stores, though there was no suggestion this has happened in St Leonards. The charities we spoke to stressed that the St Leonards store, and its Community Champion Wendy Border, had been very supportive of local causes – and now they can be again.

“We just want to thank all the staff and customers at Asda St Leonards for an amazing 3,926kg of food that has been donated via their collection point since they agreed to support the Hastings Foodbank,” said Natalie Williams from Hastings Food Bank. “That equates to 12,152 meals given to local people in crisis.”

The Hastings Foodbank donation point is now back in the St Leonards store.

The Seaview Project, which provides hot meals and support to people living on the margins of society, estimates that over the past 14 months it has received £700 of donations via the box in Asda.

An Asda spokesperson said: “We made some changes to our community programme around unmanned collections in the belief that this would benefit the many local good causes who collect in our stores. 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.”

Meanwhile, local group Hastings Solidarity is planning to start its own Mutual Aid Food Bank. “We wanted to do something about the real need for basic food supplies in Hastings but in a more constructive way than simply handing out free food: mutual aid is not charity but a process of ‘give and take’ that builds solidarity in our community,” said David Francis.

“You won’t need a letter from the DWP or social services but you will be asked to help out with the food bank and centre as much as you can. The distribution and supply side is now sorted. We’re just looking for a premises and people to lend a hand.”

To find out more about Hastings Solidarity, visit www.hasol.org.uk.