Archway food bank out to ‘beat payday loan sharks’

Natalie Stewart, Bryony Hirsch and Kim Staines in final preparations for The Hive Food Bank, which w

Natalie Stewart, Bryony Hirsch and Kim Staines in final preparations for The Hive Food Bank, which will operate from St Mary's Hornsey Rise church. Picture: Action PR - Credit: Archant

Three volunteers have taken the lead in fighting food poverty in Archway.

Bryony Hirsch, Natalie Stewart and Kim Staines have set up an independent food bank, announcing: “There’s a definite problem and if no one else is going to make a contribution, then we will.”

The Hive Food Bank is set to open early next month in St Mary’s Hornsey Rise church, Ashley Road.

All three women work full-time. Each week, they will give up one evening for handouts and one weekend day for stock-takes.

Bryony, 27, said: “We all have a history of volunteering. I used to volunteer for Shelter from the Storm in Caledonian Road. I remember meeting people there and hearing how they became homeless.

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“I want to help people before that happens. It can be so preventable – for example, by stopping them getting to the stage where they go to payday loan companies to pay for food and end up with debts.”

Asked why they chose Archway, Bryony, of Maida Vale, said: “We all have ties to north London and we noticed a gap in food bank services. People from Archway didn’t have quick access to a food bank. They currently have to travel quite a distance to Islington Foodbank [in Ronalds Road, Highbury].”

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Bryony, who works in marketing, added The Hive didn’t partner with an established food bank charity because they “are strong-minded and wanted to be part of an independent food bank”. She said: “We are still separate from St Mary’s, even if we are running it out of the church.”

The Hive will be based on a voucher system. Vouchers will be offered to anyone judged to be in need by groups with a community care role – such as GPs, schools and job centres. To donate or for more information, email

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