'Full' foodbank gets new home as demand surges

Mid Norfolk Foodbank project manager Dave Pearson said its centres in Dereham, Swaffham and Fakenham

Mid Norfolk Foodbank project manager Dave Pearson said its centres in Dereham, Swaffham and Fakenham are still operating. Picture: Dan Bennett - Credit: Archant

A foodbank is moving to a new home after its current warehouse reached bursting point.

With the pandemic raging and food poverty rising, mid-Norfolk Foodbank's storage capacity had become full by the end of 2020, as supply had kept up with demand and social distancing slowed down the distribution process. 

Breckland District Council announced this week that it will provide £2,500 of funding to the foodbank to help cover its rent for the coming year.

Volunteers arranging stock at the Mid-Norfolk Food Bank storage centre in Toftwood. 

Socially distanced volunteers arrange stock at the foodbank's storage space in November 2020. - Credit: Noah Vickers


 
“We would like to say a sincere thank you to Breckland Council for its tremendous support and help in securing this new storage unit,” said Dave Pearson, chairman of the foodbank’s trustees.
 
“With this grant we can now work safely, effectively and help more people in our local community,” he added.
 
The Trussell Trust-supported foodbank delivers donated food to centres in Dereham, Swaffham and Fakenham.
 
Comparing March to November 2019 with the same period in 2020, foodbank demand in mid-Norfolk rose by 50% - and it has given out more than 46 tonnes of food since the pandemic began.

Breckland District councillor Harry Clarke. Picture: Harry Clarke

Breckland District councillor Harry Clarke. Picture: Harry Clarke - Credit: Archant

“We weren’t sure this was all going to come off,” said Breckland councillor Harry Clarke, whom Mr Pearson had approached for help last year. 
 
Mr Clarke said that after appealing to businesses in this newspaper, another councillor saw a landlord’s online advert and sent it to him.
 
"I’m really pleased that this has finally come together to give the foodbank certainty for the next twelve months,” said Mr Clarke.
 
“This grant is on top of a matched £2,500 grant awarded very speedily by Dereham town council, and I’m grateful to both councillor Alison Webb at Breckland, and Dereham mayor Stuart Green,” he added.

Alison Webb, the Breckland District Councillor who created Dereham Cares. Picture: Alison Webb

District councillor Alison Webb - Credit: Archant

Mrs Webb, Breckland's executive member for health and housing, said: “The Mid-Norfolk Foodbank has provided an exceptional service to residents during the Covid-19 pandemic and it was clear that more financial support was needed to ensure this invaluable service continued in a safe environment.
 
“The £2500 grant is in addition to a previous £10,000 grant we supplied in 2020, ensuring local residents in need can access food.
 
“This support is being delivered as part of the Inspiring Communities project, which is investing £1 million into local community groups working on key projects to support the most vulnerable in society.”
 

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