Feeding a family or heating a home is the stark choice faced by many struggling on low incomes – but help is at hand thanks to a £208,000 project targeting food bank users.
The Purfleet Trust, West Norfolk Mind and the North West Norfolk Scouts Association are working together to improve the lives of children and adults after receiving Lottery funded grants through Enable East.
Purfleet has received £114,000 for educational sessions, £78,000 has gone to West Norfolk Mind for counselling services while the scouts have £30,000 for activity days to help with fitness.
The Foodbank has seen a 20 per cent increase in its demand for services since this time last year and the need is expected to rise.
The people behind the project expect it to make a big difference.
Purfleet Trust chief-executive Paula Hall said this project is going to change people’s lives.
She said: “There are an extraordinary number of people using the food bank at the moment and that is increasing.
“This will make a significant difference. We want to help people to make the best of what they have got and to move on.”
Over the next 18 months, the Trust will run a number of workshops, which began three weeks ago.
Sessions look at finances along with potential meals from food parcels, how to make them go further and advice on how to shop and grow their own produce.
Staff at the Trust have been told how some families are relying on takeaways in the belief that it is cheaper than switching on the electricity.
Mrs Hall said: “We have some people who are facing the choice of whether to keep warm or eat.”
North West Norfolk Scout Association will put on adventure activities for 300 six to 18-year-olds over two years.
Shooting, archery and climbing session will be held at Wolferton on Saturday, October 19 for foster children, young carers and those that use the food bank along with service families. A camp will also be run in February.
Assistant district commissioner John Rospopa said: “We are hoping to that they will have a bit of fun and develop confidence.”
West Norfolk Mind will run counselling sessions and advice on how to fight off depression for people using the food bank, families of foster children and veterans,
Chief executive Eddie West-Burnham said: “This will provide opportunities for people who are vulnerable or at risk.”
A food bank will also be starting in Hunstanton and volunteers will run a collection in the town’s High Street tomorrow from 10.30am to 12.30pm.