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Foodbank warns hundreds of people are in crisis in north Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 05:00 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:41 25 April 2016

Kay Harvey , Jenny Benoy, Ella King, Judith Lincoln and Denise Boyle are pictured at the opening of a new foodbank in Aylsham. 

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Kay Harvey , Jenny Benoy, Ella King, Judith Lincoln and Denise Boyle are pictured at the opening of a new foodbank in Aylsham. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2016

Shocking new figures have revealed the number of vulnerable people in Cromer and District relying on food handouts to survive has dramatically increased.

Shocking new figures have revealed the number of vulnerable people in north Norfolk relying on food handouts to survive has dramatically increased.

Cromer and District Foodbank delivered 2484 three-day emergency food parcels, packed with vital supplies, between April 2015 and March 2016 - and more than a third of those affected were children.

That is compared to an already staggering 2188 food parcels in the previous financial year - an increase of 296.

Delays in benefits, low income and debt was blamed as the most common reason for a foodbank referral.

The figures were released by the Trussell Trust foodbank network in the same week that a new foodbank opened in Aylsham - one of the more affluent areas of north Norfolk.

David McAuley, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “These figures prove that the numbers of people hitting a crisis where they cannot afford food are still far too high.

“One million three-day food supplies given out by our foodbanks every year is one million too many.

“This many people needing emergency food must not become the new normal.

“I’m calling on Government, the voluntary sector, businesses and communities to work together to tackle hunger and poverty in the UK.”

Over the last year, local people donated 25 tonnes of food to Cromer and District Foodbank, and over 100 people volunteered their time to help.

As well as providing emergency food, the foodbank - which costs £20,000 a year to run - provides essentials like washing powder, nappies and hygiene products to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area.

Cromer & District Foodbank, which now has distribution centres in Cromer, Aylsham, North Walsham, Sheringham, Holt and Stalham, have also joined up with Citizens Advice to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support at the foodbank itself, helping people to break out of crisis.

Ella King, manager of Cromer & District Foodbank Manager, said: “Behind these statistics are real people in real crisis through no fault of their own.”

The new centre, opened at Aylsham and Reepham Children’s Centre at Aylsham Recreation Ground, Sir William’s Lane, Aylsham

this week, operates every Tuesday afternoon from 1.30pm to 3pm for people in financial crisis to access emergency food supplies.

Ella said: “This centre is ideal for those with children, it gives an easier access for those with families. We know there are lots of needy families in Aylsham so it now gives them two places, with another at the parish church on Monday mornings.”

The foodbank is currently requesting donations of UHT milk, savoury snacks, sweet treats, shampoo and shower gel and are overstocked on beans and soup. People need a voucher to access the service. Information about where to get a voucher in Aylsham or how to become a voucher holder is available via Ella King on 07826 376343 or at ella@cromerdistrict.foodbank.org.uk.

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