‘There’s a lot of poverty behind the affluence’: Foodbank to open at Holt

Cromer and District Foodbank distribution centre at Holt Youth Project.Volunteers, left to right, Mi

Cromer and District Foodbank distribution centre at Holt Youth Project.Volunteers, left to right, Mike Duncan, David Hart, Pam Connolly-Hart and Mary Duncan. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Another of Norfolk's seemingly prosperous places is to have a foodbank to hand out emergency aid to people in dire need.

On Friday, the new facility will open at Holt - a few days after another one opened at Hunstanton, to support needy people in areas including Burnham Market.

The Holt outlet will be the 5th to be opened in just over a year by Cromer and District Foodbank, which only got off the ground in August 2012.

It has since handed out 1,600 three-day emergency parcels, which amounts to 14,400 meals, from its bases at Cromer, Sheringham, North Walsham and Aylsham.

Now the new facility is set to open at Holt Youth Project. And foodbank press officer Michael McMahon said there was a 'huge need' for it.

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He said: 'We've known of the need in Holt for a long time. What you see of Holt in the centre, with expensive shops and people with money in their pockets, is only one side of the story.

'If you look at government deprivation indices, Holt figures considerably. There's a lot of poverty behind the apparent affluence of Holt.'

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Mr McMahon said the group had been trying for a while to find a suitable town location for the foodbank.

He said Holt Anglican priest Fr Howard Stoker and Methodist minister the Rev Jenny Pathmarajah had got involved and given a 'firm kick-start' to the project a few months ago.

He added: 'We've finally found a near-perfect arrangement, thanks to the generosity of Julie Alford and her team at Holt Youth Project at Old Station Way.

'They've given us the exclusive use of storage facilities for food and other bits and bobs - and regular access to space within the centre to greet clients and distribute food.'

Despite the recent upturn in the UK economy, Mr McMahon said things were 'getting worse' for people in need.

He said: 'The problems seem to be increasing. The main trigger is benefit delay, but other factors include bereavement or burglary. We also see a significant minority of homeless people.'

? The centre will be open every Friday from 1.30pm-3pm, but people can contact the foodbank at other times on 07826 376343. See www.cromerdistrictfoodbank.org.uk

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