Norwich Foodbank celebrates year of success

Norwich Foodbank last night celebrated the first anniversary of its crusade to drive out hidden hunger.

Lord Mayor Jenny Lay and the Sheriff of Norwich Chris Higgins were joined by members of city churches, care workers and the wider public at a special thanksgiving evening in Norwich Central Baptist Church.

After a welcome by church pastor the Rev Mark Tall and hymns led by Catton Community Choir, project manager Grant Habershon introduced a video describing the first year's work of the Christian charity, set up to supply people with food in times of crisis.

The charity's vision of expanding its work around Norfolk was then set out by Clare Elkins.

Mr Habershon, an elder of the Duke Street Baptist church, said demand for their food supplies had grown steadily since the project was first inspired by John Betts, from Taverham, who had been impressed by the work of food banks in other parts of the country.

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He said: 'It is partly because we are getting better known but the tough economic climate undoubtedly also has a bearing.

'The care agencies we work with are concerned that the government's Welfare Reform Bill could cause even greater demand.'

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Mr Habershon said people taking advantage of their service crossed the spectrum from those with mental health problems to the victims of redundancy and marriage break-ups 'who would never have dreamed they would be in this situation two or three years ago'.

Praising the support of the Evening News, which launched its successful Fill the Foodbank campaign when supplies ran low in the summer, Mr Habershon said: 'Over the last three months we have helped 275 people a month and this month the total is likely to reach 300 people.'

Now distributing two and a half tonnes of food a month, they need to use the whole of the warehouse supplied free to them by Nelm Development Trust.

Therefore they are appealing for someone to offer them a separate, small administration centre. More than 100 volunteers had helped the charity, from staffing distribution centres to handing out leaflets at supermarkets urging customers to buy an extra item from a list of essentials for the food bank.

He added that the number of distribution centres in the city was being expanded.

For information on how you can help Norwich Foodbank, email or call 07955 920590.

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