New Cromer Foodbank scheme will serve support for families in crisis

A charitable scheme to feed Cromer residents in times of crisis is being launched - and hopes to be serving those in need by the end of the summer.

Volunteers from the town's churches have joined forces to establish a food bank, which will provide 'survival' food packs to families and individuals who suddenly find themselves in dire straights and cannot afford to feed themselves.

The Cromer scheme will follow the model used by the successful Norwich Foodbank, which fed more than 1,700 people in the last six months of 2011 and plans to help more than 4,000 this year.

Food banks - of which there are more than 170 nationally - support those with no financial safety net, who are left struggling to feed themselves after being hit by a sudden crisis such as bereavement, benefit delay, redundancy or illness.

Members of the Cromer group, who are Christians drawn from different denomination churches, were spurred into action after learning about the town's high levels of deprivation.

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Tina Nicholas, chairman of Cromer Foodbank, said: 'The average income in this area is quite well below the national average, a lot of the work is seasonal and intermittent and there's a lot of deprivation.

'We have asked quite a few statutory agencies who really feel there is a need for this sort of thing. That's really why we have decided to pursue it.'

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'If you're a parent and have got to send your children to bed hungry because you can't afford food in a crisis, there can be few worse things. That's what we're there to help with and these situations occur much more frequently than people realise,' she added.

Foodbank volunteers collect donations of non-perishable items, such as pasta, tins and cereals, and package them into nutritionally balanced boxes that will feed a family for three days. Supermarket drives will also be held, where shoppers will be asked for donations by adding an extra item to their basket or trolley.

Boxes are then handed to people who have been referred to the Foodbank by care professionals, such as health visitors, social services or Citizen Advice Bureau. Volunteers will also offer companionship, moral support and advice to those in need during distribution sessions.

The Cromer scheme is hoped to be running by September and volunteers are holding a meeting next week open to anyone who wants to get involved.

The meeting is being held at Cromer parish church on Tuesday, March 27 from 7.30pm.

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