Donations to Cromer and District Foodbank increase threefold

Cromer Foodbank volunteers. Methodist minister the Rev Sharon Willimott. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Cromer Foodbank volunteers. Methodist minister the Rev Sharon Willimott. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Thursday, July 31, 2014
7:00 AM

Donations to a foodbank charity which is helping families in crisis have nearly tripled over one year.

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Cromer Foodbank volunteers. Ken Masters filling food parcels in the warehouse.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYCromer Foodbank volunteers. Ken Masters filling food parcels in the warehouse. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

And the number of people helped by the Cromer and District Foodbank - many of them children -has doubled.

Foodbank centres in Cromer, Sheringham, Holt, North Walsham and Aylsham, received 28 tonnes of food from April 2013 to March 2014 compared to 10.8 tonnes the previous year.

People affected by changes to the benefits system, and low income families in a crisis, are currently the main reasons why people seek foodbank help.

And out of 2,357 people who received parcels from April 2013 to March 2014, a third were children.

The Rev Sharon Willimott, trustee and Methodist minister for the north Norfolk circuit, said: “The number of people we have helped has more than doubled from one year to the next.

“There has been an increase in gifts from the public that matches the increase in demand for food.”

But she added: “People need more than just food. A lot of the time people come for a compassionate ear.”

The foodbank, supported by the Trussell Trust, launched in March 2012 and runs a popular café open to everyone at the Cromer Methodist Church Hall on West Street from 11.30am-1pm every Thursday.

Trustees want to expand the charity’s support work which includes advocacy for debt problems; supporting children in low income families that do not qualify for free school meals; and partnering up with housing associations and the Citizens Advice Bureau.

The charity is looking at new projects including setting up a food parcel service for people leaving hospital.

“I see the foodbank becoming a community hub in the future. Foodbanks will always be there. I hope they won’t be perceived as propping up the state benefits system and will be a place for support and refuge among a crisis. They are the way to revitalise the relevancy of the church,” Mrs Willimott said.

She was proud of the foodbank and added recipients were overwhelmed with the support.

Unemployed Christopher Scott, 28, who lives in temporary Overstrand accommodation with partner Kayleigh Cheetham, 26, and their six-month-old daughter Ruby, has received food from the charity for three weeks.

He said: “I have never known help like it before.”

The charity has 110 volunteers and is supported by more than 70 churches, 67 partner organisations and schools.

Distribution centres are at Aylsham Parish Church (Mondays 9.30-11.30am) North Walsham Catholic Church Hall and Sheringham Catholic Church Hall on Wednesdays; Cromer Methodist Church Hall on Thursdays; and Holt Youth Project on Old Station Way, Holt, on Fridays ( all 1.30-3pm).

Dry food and toiletries can be dropped off at the centres. For help call 07826 376343 between 9am-4pm Monday to Saturday. Visit www.cromerdistrict.foodbank.org.uk

Have you been helped by the Cromer and District Foodbank? Email sophie.wyllie@archant.co.uk

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