Students develop new IT solution for Canterbury Food Bank

Students from the University of Kent have developed a new computer system to help Canterbury Food Bank meet the increasing demand from people in need across the region.

The team of four students from the University’s School of Computing have worked together to create a new online-based system to enable the food bank to manage distribution of its supplies more effectively.

The new site can be updated in real-time from each of the charity’s distribution centres, as well as have the capability to manage its stock. It can also indicate when perishable items are reaching their best before date, thereby reducing waste. The new system replaces an outdated and inefficient excel spread sheet method.

Paul Kentish, responsible for the Canterbury Food Bank’s ICT, said: ‘We are experiencing an increasing demand for food parcels and have expanded our services to the neighbouring areas of Whitstable and Herne Bay in recent months. We shall shortly open a second distribution point in Canterbury, too. This poses a set of new communication, stocking and logistic challenges that were difficult to handle with our existing, limited ICT arrangements, but the students have helped to address our problems with their excellent work.’

Professor Frank Wang, Head of the University’s School of Computing, said: ‘We are very happy to see the success of this collaboration and look forward to continue such assistance, using our students’ skills to benefit Canterbury Food Bank and other charities that perform a vital role in our society.’

The work with the charity forms a final year project conducted by students in the University’s School of Computing which aims to apply their skills to provide new computer solutions for organisations in the area. The team for this project are studying at the University of Kent for one year as part of the Brazilian Government’s Science without Borders (SwB) program.

Donations for the Canterbury Food Bank, a recently formed Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), can be made here.