Food and mentoring hub sees demand rocket amid costs crisis

Local volunteers help to feed their community amid increase in cost of living. 

Local volunteers help to feed their community amid increase in cost of living. - Credit: Rainy Waller

As money gets increasingly tighter for city families, a group which offers free meals and mentoring has said demand has spiked by 25pc in just a month. 

The cost of living crisis is snapping at the heels of many living in Norwich as prices for the likes of energy and petrol continue to rise. 

The NR5 Community Hub is an organisation attempting to ease the burden on families.

Lots of people turned up to the community to receive a free meal. 

Lots of people turned up to the community hub in NR5 to receive a free meal. - Credit: Rainy Waller

The group now puts on a monthly meal, the first of which took place at the weekend.

Rainy Waller, who is the project manager at the NR5 Community Hub, said: “It helps us to ensure that families in the area have a healthy and balanced meal. 

All of the volunteers were local people from the NR5 community. 

All of the volunteers were local people from the NR5 community. - Credit: Rainy Waller

“People in our area are worried they will end up in debt and other financial trouble trying to cover the basics of everyday living.

"We don’t want this to have an impact on their mental health, so we are trying to do whatever we can.” 

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The meal, which took place on April 8, was a huge success.

The Hub served 65 meals at the weekend.

The Hub served 65 meals at the weekend. - Credit: Rainy Waller

Rainy said: “We served homemade chicken curry and special fried rice with chocolate cake and custard. 

“A total of 65 meals were served by local volunteers on that day, and the atmosphere was incredible.” 

She added that one meal is far from getting families out of the woods though.

The Hub are looking forward to their next event where there can help the community. 

The Hub are looking forward to their next event where there can help the community. - Credit: Rainy Waller

Rainy said: “We have seen a 25pc increase in people needing to use our services since March.

“I also know that there is going to be even more need for the community meals as time goes on.” 

The Hub has received National Lottery funding to run the monthly meal so Rainy is confident that they will be able to keep up with growing demand.  

She said: “NR5 is very much neighbours helping neighbours, we really do show community spirit at its best.

"I was so happy to hear one elderly woman speaking about the experience. She was saying how good it was to be out of the house and talking to people while enjoying a lovely meal."

To keep up to date with the next community meal and other events follow NR5 community hub on Facebook.