Vulnerable get helping hand with extra food thanks to councillors
PUBLISHED: 14:42 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:20 06 May 2020
Courtesy: Steve Morphew
Vulnerable people are being given extra help to get food during the coronavirus crisis, thanks to the efforts of local councillors.
Labour councillors in Norfolk have become part of the Fareshare network - the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors, made up of 17 independent organisations.
Since the start of lockdown, they have been helping to distribute food and top up to where there is unmet need, including transporting about a tonne of food a week to foodbanks and distribution centres.
Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council, said councillors were spending about £200 a week on top up supplies, van hire and fuel, using cash from the controversial allowances rise the county council had agreed.
He said councillors were helping at foodbanks, collecting, driving and delivering, with trips to supermarkets and wholesalers.
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Mr Morphew said: “Mancroft councillor Danny Douglas quickly identified the lack of planning for food supply and distribution at the beginning of this crisis.
“Things have improved and we are working with the system that has been established, but we’re still finding shortfalls and being contacted by people without enough food.
“We’re not judging, just getting food to those who need it. But we really shouldn’t have to do this.
“Food banks are a reflection of something wrong with our society and there not being a proper plan to feed people during a crisis shows improvements are needed for the future.
“Even so, I’m proud of the Labour county councillors who are all helping on the ground and district councillors who have joined in the effort.”
Mr Morphew said the project has been given its own name - Food Out Friday - and that there had been donations of around £2,000, mainly from Labour Party members, to support the work.
Last month saw a new distribution hub set up in Norwich to help in the crisis.
Norfolk County Council and South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils have led the community resilience delivery group to help district councils distribute food and essential medicines across the county for those who are having to shield during the pandemic.
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