Hundreds of hampers handed out to vulnerable city families
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Hundreds of families were heading into Christmas wondering how to put food on the table and toys under the tree.
But thanks to big-hearted city folk and businesses, hundreds of festive hampers have been put together by Norfolk charity Future Projects to help those most in need ahead of the big day.
The hampers were organised for collection and delivery at The Baseline Centre in the heart of the Marlpit housing estate on Monday where unemployment, crime, and poverty are high.
The hampers were made possible by the generosity of local organisations and people holding collections, as well as donations of items.
One person who has benefitted from the scheme is Simon, 44, who lives in a family of seven and whose surname has not been revealed to protect his wellbeing.
He said: "I was working at DPD as a courier driver, but due to back problems I have been out of work since August on sick pay.
"Due to the delay in receiving Universal Credit payments, I won’t be receiving my first payment for several weeks, and I have quickly fallen into rent arrears and debt."
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As a result, his tenancy was put at risk and he faced the threat of his family being evicted from their council home with nowhere to go.
As well as receiving a hamper of Christmas essentials, Future Projects has also ensured the family gets what they are entitled to when the payment comes through, as well as notifying the city council.
Bosses at the charity said families are increasingly under pressure in the run-up to Christmas with the struggles including spiralling household debt and long-term financial hardship.
A spokesman for Future Projects said the impact of the pandemic has meant the number of people identified as being in need has "skyrocketed".
He explained: "Our aim is to give people a break from their struggles and allow them to instead enjoy Christmas with their families.
"Each year, more and more people and families are in need of support at this time of year, so every year we send out more hampers and we will continue to do so."
What are in the hampers?
The hampers included all the ingredients for a Christmas lunch - complete with a turkey and all the trimmings.
There are also other essential foods such as cereals, fruit and vegetables to keep families going over the Christmas period.
And festive gifts are also included in the hampers for each child in the families to ensure they have something to smile about on the big day.
Christmas crackers and tins of food can also be seen in the hampers.
The hampers are organised at The Baseline Centre by volunteers and neatly boxed up for speedy distribution.
And Future Projects has set up a Just Giving page to raise funds to go towards the hamper project next year.
This can be found by searching https://justgiving.com/campaign/christmas-hampers-norwich.
For more information on the Future Projects charity and their work, visit the website at www.futureprojects.org.uk