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More than 60pc increase in visits to district’s foodbanks

PUBLISHED: 08:22 06 May 2020

Rise in foodbanks use. Picture: David Jones/PA Wire

Rise in foodbanks use. Picture: David Jones/PA Wire

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A foodbank in mid Norfolk has seen a 68pc increase in visits, a charity has revealed.

Mid Norfolk Foodbank in Dereham. Picture: Dan BennettMid Norfolk Foodbank in Dereham. Picture: Dan Bennett

The Mid Norfolk Foodbank has reported increased demand at its Dereham, Fakenham and Swaffham centres compared to this time last year.

In April alone, 172 parcels have been given out, feeding a total of 465 adults and children.

The foodbank has been receiving an average of a tonne of supplies a week from donors across the district to feed people living alone, and couples and families struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus crisis.

Mid Norfolk Foodbank chair of trustees Dave Pearson, said: “To everyone who has given to us, from supermarkets, churches, businesses and local councils to the little boy or girl dropping a tin of soup or beans into a donations box, we say thank you. We are touched and amazed by your generosity.”

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To help those who cannot afford to buy food or reach a foodbank because they are self-isolating, the volunteer team has added a new doorstep drop-off home delivery service. This has proved particularly valuable for villagers left without transport during the lockdown.

Mr Pearson said: “We’ve had donations from restaurants, cafes and tourism businesses forced to close because of the lockdown. They must be undergoing untold stress and uncertainty about their futures, yet they’ve still found time to think about others battling to feed themselves and their families and to ensure good food doesn’t go to waste. They too have shown real community spirit.”

While numbers using Mid Norfolk Foodbank are expected to rise still further, the charity is still concerned that people are unaware they can access its service.

“We’re thinking about self-employed people or those on zero-hours contracts who have seen their work shifts or order books dry up completely in recent weeks, while the household bills have kept on coming and there are still mouths to feed,” Mr Pearson said.

“We’re here to help – to get them back on their feet in times of crisis.

“You might only need to visit us for a week or two to tide you over after, say, a hefty repair bill turns up or you’re waiting for your first Universal Credit payment to arrive, but that’s what we’re here for.”


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