Swaffham Food Bank team aiming to reach more people in need

Swaffham Food Bank volunteers (from left): volunteers Carol Harrison, Helen Neale (Distribution Centre Co-ordinator) and KATI Sparrow.
Swaffham Food Bank volunteers (from left): volunteers Carol Harrison, Helen Neale (Distribution Centre Co-ordinator) and KATI Sparrow.
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Food Bank volunteers are branching out in a bid to make it easier for people in the Swaffham area to access the help they need.

Hundreds of people have already been helped by the town’s branch of the Mid-Norfolk Food Bank since it was opened in the autumn of 2012.

But officials say that demand still remains high and they fear there could be many more people in the area who are in need, whether through unemployment, benefit reforms or other changes to their circumstances, and who are not yet seeking help.

Now, volunteers from the centre which is based at the town’s Baptist church in Station Street, are particularly keen to encourage people from nearby villages to come forward if they are struggling to make ends meet.

Helen Neale, the Swaffham distribution centre’s co-ordinator, said they had given enough food to feed 13 people in just one two-hour session on Tuesday morning, an increase on recent weeks.

She said: “Our desire is to ensure everyone with a need for the service knows where we are, when we meet, and how they can obtain advice.

“We are working closely with local groups such as Citizens Advice, the Iceni Partnership, Wellfamily, Homestart and Surestart to spread the word as widely as we can.

“The next step is to ensure that people living in the area surrounding Swaffham also know about the service, and about the community transport links that may help them access us.”

She said it was particularly important that people did not think they were going to be judged for seeking help.

Information about the Food Bank service is currently being distributed to local schools, doctors’ surgeries and to older people through the Age UK network.

Mrs Neale said: “I believe there are people in the villages who are yet to discover there is a Food Bank available to them.”

The scheme is heavily supported by local churches and charity groups, while Swaffham supermarkets have also given their backing through store collections and other initiatives.

“They understand that people are in need and they want to help. It’s as basic as that and they just want to know they are being helped.”

The distribution centre is open every Tuesday morning between 10am and noon. For more information, contact Mrs Neale on 07946 299227.