THE FOUNDER of Coventry Foodbank Gavin Kibble has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The award recognises Gavin’s service to the city of Coventry and to its community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The news comes just days before Coventry Foodbank is due to celebrate its tenth anniversary, having helped more than 200,000 people with emergency food parcels since opening in 2011.
Beyond his work in setting up the foodbank, Gavin Kibble has spent the last ten years aiding charitable work in the including pioneering ‘Good Neighbours’ befriending service that currently provides friendship to over 345 isolated older people across the city.
During the pandemic, Gavin spearheaded summer holiday food programmes for more than 2,000 of Coventry’s most vulnerable children, and through working with the city council’s HAF programme supported an additional 3,300 children in March.
Gavin also currently works as the Regional Operations Director for the locally based humanitarian charity Feed The Hungry, which took over the running of Coventry Foodbank in 2021, and remains involved in the operation.
Gavin said he was ‘honoured and extremely surprised’ to receive the recognition from Her Majesty.
“When I set up the foodbank I hoped to provide food for 2,000 people, and knowing we have just served our 200,000th client is a humbling achievement.
“However, it leaves me heartbroken to see levels of need increase so dramatically.
“I am constantly astounded by the generosity of donations and the volunteers who have seen to it that, over the ten years the foodbank has been running, not one person has been turned away – even in the midst of a global pandemic.”
The establishment of the foodbank was inspired when Gavin’s brother found himself in debt in 2008 and sought his help.
As a result Gavin resigned his role as the Finance Director of a multinational company to establish a CAP (Christians Against Poverty) Debt Centre in Coventry in 2010.
He immediately discovered that many of his CAP clients could not even afford food for their families and so Gavin started Coventry Foodbank.
Gavin added: “I remember being utterly overwhelmed by the demand we experienced when I set up the CAP Debt Centre in the city – families weren’t just struggling to make ends meet, they were struggling to afford basic necessities. Time and time again I saw parents desperate, unable to get food on the table.
“It was clear that the city was crying out for additional support and that a foodbank would provide that.”
As well as his work on the ground, Gavin has also been involved in pioneering new schemes to tackle food insecurity.
“Following an invitation from Frank Field MP, founder of Feeding Britain, Gavin and Coun Faye Abbott established Feed Coventry, which led to the successful establishment of Coventry’s first Community Supermarket opening in March 2020.
In 2017 Gavin was publicly honoured by Coventry University with an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration for his services to Coventry in regard to his work in relieving food poverty.
The award was recommended by the Prime Minister on the advice of the independent Main Honour Committee following an independent assessment process.
Visit coventryfoodbank.org.uk/life/ for more on the foodbank or to make a donation.