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Volunteers serve up more than a thousand lunches to stop children going hungry

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:08 03 September 2020

Volunteers at the Silver Rooms in Norwich have been keeping people fed during the summer holidays. Pic: Julie Brociek-Coulton.

Volunteers at the Silver Rooms in Norwich have been keeping people fed during the summer holidays. Pic: Julie Brociek-Coulton.

Julie Brociek-Coulton

Volunteers at a community hub created after a day centre was closed have helped stop children going hungry over the school holidays - serving up more than a thousand packed lunches.

Volunteers at the Silver Rooms in Norwich have been keeping people fed during the summer holidays. Pic: Julie Brociek-Coulton.Volunteers at the Silver Rooms in Norwich have been keeping people fed during the summer holidays. Pic: Julie Brociek-Coulton.

A group of more than 20 volunteers at the Silver Road Community Centre in Norwich have spent the past four weeks making packed lunches to help parents who might otherwise struggle to make sure their children got enough to eat.

The Norwich Opportunity Area programme, with support from Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council, organised for the distribution of funding from The Sunday Times Christmas Appeal across Norwich over the summer holidays to provide food, support and activities.

And at the Silver Road community centre, more than a thousand packed lunches being prepared, which were then collected or delivered to parents.

Julie Brociek-Coulton, a Labour city and county councillor and trustee at Silver Road Community Centre, said: “We had three schools that we catered for - Magdalen Gates Academy, Angel Road Infant and Junior Academy and Sewell Park Academy and we sent letters out to all schools, who passed them to parents.

Volunteers at the Silver Rooms in Norwich have been keeping people fed during the summer holidays. Pic: Julie Brociek-Coulton.Volunteers at the Silver Rooms in Norwich have been keeping people fed during the summer holidays. Pic: Julie Brociek-Coulton.

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“As the weeks have gone by we have more parents using our service. I think the parents appreciated the fact that we were there to support them and help them in anyway we could and this project has been really successful.

“It was only successful because of the fantastic volunteers we have and I know they have enjoyed working on this project as much as I have.

“People don’t see that behind the scenes work, I know, but it has been well worth the results we have achieved for our community.

Volunteers at the Silver Rooms in Norwich have been keeping people fed during the summer holidays. Pic: Julie Brociek-Coulton.Volunteers at the Silver Rooms in Norwich have been keeping people fed during the summer holidays. Pic: Julie Brociek-Coulton.

“The great thing is that people have come in and we have helped them with casework too and also told them about the Norfolk Assistance Scheme that Norfolk County Council has, where they could put in for school uniforms.

“We also received packs from the Norfolk and Norwich Festival full of great resources for the children over the four weeks and the Norfolk county Labour councillors sub-group gave parcels of activities too.

All in all it was a great project and we hope to continue with others in the future and our next project is to start a foodbank at the centre.”

The Silver Road Community Centre was created after campaigners fought to stop the county council from selling the former Silver Rooms day centre to a private developer.

The community took it on themselves at a peppercorn rent and created the community centre.


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