A TEAM of apprentices from Winchester City Council helped support the local community at Christmas.

They have recently collected food and toiletries from colleagues, families and friends to donate to Winchester Basics Bank.

The food helped ensure the food bank had enough supplies to meet the extra demand that Christmas brought.

Moira Knapman, chairman of Winchester Basics Bank, said: “We would like to say a big thank you to the Winchester City Council apprentices for organising these Christmas donations. Christmas can be so difficult for people on the breadline: the homeless are cold and lonely, and families grapple with the expense of children’s presents as well as heating bills and food. Our December food parcels therefore contain extra Christmas treats and generous provisions.”

The 11 young people involved in the project joined the council a few months ago as the latest cohort of the apprenticeship programme, which has been running for two years.

Charlotte Nelson, one of the apprentices, said: “An apprenticeship has enabled me to develop my skills and opened the door to some wonderful opportunities. It is a great way to meet new people and learn new skills and this project has given us the chance to give something back to the local community.”

The team will also help local residents clear an over grown area of a churchyard later this year.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, portfolio holder for finance and administration, said: “The council recognised the importance of supporting our apprentices to develop team working, project planning and personal skills alongside the work related competencies that they need to acquire. This group of young people have worked hard to provide two great projects and I am inspired by their efforts.”