I HAVE AN IDEA.  Will you help me make it work ? This is something I have given to John - The Project Director of MK Foodbank.

Olney has its pancake race….. Fenny Stratford has its poppers…….. Let’s start a tradition in West Bletchley over Lent – A TON OF TINS FOR THE FOOD BANK……

Lent 2020 starts on SHROVE TUESDAY – 25th February and ends with EASTER SUNDAY on Sunday 12th April 2020. So we have;

·         w/b Tuesday 25th February

·         w/b Monday 2nd  March

·         w/b  Monday 9th  March

·         w/b Monday 16th March

·         w/b Monday 23rd  March

·         w/b Monday 30th March

·         w/b Monday 6th April


 I would suggest we need to have a plan in place by the end of December 2019. We then need to use January 2020 to make it happen.

LAUNCH:  Tuesday 25th February - I will launch the project with my Tuesday Terrific Tunes radio show. For a tin I will play a dedication.  I will write the playlist which will probably have 25 tracks. Could we get 4 listeners to donate a tin for each track so kicking off with 100 tins ?

I can set up an on-line system to grab a tune but we need to have dedication request slips out and about.  Where could we place these ?  How do we collect the tins ?

CAR BOOT SALE: We had a great success with a car boot stall I ran at MK Irish Centre – Manor Fields – in September for MK Winter Night Shelter. I set a target of £100. We made £400 !  Let’s do it again on Saturday 29th February for The Food Bank.

NO – Manor Fields is not West Bletchley but we get West Bletchley people to help run the stall, promote it and to donate things to sell. MK Irish Centre is run by one of my LEONITES – Paula.  The people who use the ;location to run the weekly boot sale are truly lovely people. I will ask if we can run the stall there.

When we have the money we spend it in West Bletchley shops to buy tins, packets etc. In the old days when Wilf Griffin ran the Co-op we could have gone to him and said here’s £400 will you give us £500 of tins ?  Wilf would have said NO – HERE’S £800 of tins.  Would any West Bletchley Shops be willing to top up ?

I suggest we set a target of £200 then see how much more we can make.

DISCO SATURDAY 7th MARCH – say 7.30pm to 10pm: A retro pop disco open to families. Admission by tin.  Hopefully people will give more than one tin to get in. 150 people attending = about 300 tins.

We need to find a hall to hire. I will meet costs.

My next door neighbour runs a retro pop disco. If he can provide the disco I will cover costs.

I can set up some fun games and prizes.

We need to consider refreshments.

ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE: Monday 9th March to Sunday 15th March:  We need to find what I am calling Street Champions, one person per street. How many street champions can we find ?  How do we find them ? Can we count on the local media ?

The street champion produce a simple note which is delivered to houses in the street. This can easily be done on a domestic computer printer. During the week residents place a tin onto the doorstep of the champion.

Say we get 10 champions, a tiny fraction of the streets in West Bletchley, and each collects 25 tins = 250 tines.

Say we get 50 champions and each collects 50 tings = 2.500 tins.


I am deliberately not including schools as The Food Bank already engages with them.

PUBS: We have in The Three Trees Pub of the Year which is already doing something within the work I do supporting homeless rough-sleepers in Milton Keynes. Would pubs be willing to put something on.

SHOPS: We do not have any supermarkets in West Bletchley operating as collection points. Could we engage any of our shops over Lent ?  I would suggest a shop does not have to be a food retailer to be a collection point and The Food Bank, of course, is looking for more than just tins/packets of food.

CHURCHES: How many churches already support The Food Bank ? I would not want to do anything within this project which would cut across what they are doing.

RESIDENTS/COMMUNITY GROUPS: I want to engage with community groups to help get the word out and support the activities. I hope that some will want to organise activities.

RAF CLUB:  Could the RAF Club on Tattenhoe Lane get involved.

GOLF CENTRE: I plan to ask Windmill Hill Golf Centre to come up with an idea for an event.

DOCTORS AND DENTISTS: Could we involve these locations ?

OTHER BUSINESSES: I have good connections with a couple of non-retail business operations in West Bletchley. Could we bring businesses on-line.

BLETCHLEY PARK: I have a personal history with Bletchley Park. I was the one who reintroduced The Leon Family to Bletchley Park. However, Bletchley Park is not good at supporting its surrounding community. Could we engage the park to do something ?


The word TON means a lot rather than a specific weight. However……

An average tin weighs 400grams

We ned 2,300 tins for the ton

Surely that is possible.

·         Radio launch 100 tins

·         Car Boot Sale say 300 tins

·         Disco 300 tins

·         On the street where you live 500 tins

= 1,200 tins = around halfway.


This is NOT a West Bletchley Council event – it is a West Bletchley Community event. However, I would like to ask if the council would use its notice board to get the word out and put something in Open Door.

Media in Milton Keynes is weak. MK Citizen is a dying force. Local TV and BBC radio is not local. The radio station I work with is international and while I can play dedications I can not realistically use my shows to promote a local event.


John, as you know I often say The Wave Of Love Flows In Both Directions. We have discussed this and I know you agree. Someone who gives support in love received love back from his/her gift.

I also say that when promoting The Food Bank people should not just throw a tin into a collection point. The need to stop and think about the person who will receive their gift.

I do not support commercial charities. The Food Bank is not a commercial charity. A tin donated  goes direct to the person who needs it.


OK we are not generating a vast number of additional gifts – 2.300 across 7 weeks is only 328 a week. We do need to check how the gifts are collected and processed within your system.


I want this activity to celebrate West Bletchley, to bring the community together in a happy and positive way. I want a feel good factor throughout and something West Bletchley can take a pride in. I want this not be a one off event but something which operates every year.

It is all very well coming up with ideas. An idea can easily be turned into a plan. A plan needs PEOPLE to make it happen.  The original idea is mine but without people to help me make the plan and many people work the plan A TON OF TINS FOR THE FOOD BANK WILL NEVER HAPPEN.


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