Alnwick Town Council round-up: Food bank, payphones and Post Office

From left, Jan Tuckwell, Ed McElhone, Chris McElhone and Chris Friend, volunteers at the Alnwick District Food Bank.
From left, Jan Tuckwell, Ed McElhone, Chris McElhone and Chris Friend, volunteers at the Alnwick District Food Bank.

Twenty-nine children and 55 adults sought help from Alnwick District Food Bank during a three-month period.

And Chris Friend, from the group, fears that there is a lot more need out there.

Chris also said that the organisation wants additional funding to help more people.

He said: “Between April and June, we helped 55 adults, 11 kids between six and 16 and 18 children under five, primarily in Alnwick.

“There will be repeat business. People aren’t coming back every week, more like once every couple of months. A parcel helps an individual for a couple of days. A family would receive three or four parcels.

“We would still like more funding, because I think there is more need out there and we need to go a bit deeper than we have done so far and raise the profile.

“We currently use the upstairs in Alnwick’s Costa Coffee, which we appreciate, but in the long term, we need a ground-floor premises.”

Currently, parcels are made from non-perishble items, such as pasta, cereal, baked beans and UHT milk.

Chris added: “We would love to do fresh-food vouchers, for things like fruit and veg, but we haven’t been able to find a retailer to work with us. My hope is that we could do some kind of voucher system which we would pay for.”

Food can be left at Costa Coffee, the Co-op on Bondgate Within and Iceland.

Everybody who receives a food parcel is assessed first. To seek help, visit the town’s Citizen’s Advice branch in Lloyds Bank, or call 03444 111444 or 0345 600 6400.

Visit alnwickdistrictfoodbank.co.uk for more information.

• Northumberland County Council has backed the town council’s objections to proposals to remove three payphones.

BT is planning to axe 179 payphones in Northumberland, as part of a nationwide review, following a decline in usage over the last decade.

As part of this, a kiosk at West Acres, another on Wagonway Road and another at Alnmouth Station have been earmarked for removal.

The town council spoke out against this, wanting to safeguard all three, and at Thursday’s meeting, clerk Bill Batey said the county council has supported this view.

• Changes are to be made to the post office along Wagonway Road. Clerk Bill Batey told members that the store will be closed for seven days in January and February for upgrade work to take place, including the creation of an open-plan-style branch. As part of the changes, the opening hours will be altered, to extend the hours of service. After the changes, it will be open Monday to Saturday, 6am to 7pm, and Sunday, 7am to 6pm.

• Changes have been made to the allotment rents for 2017.

• A bench which was damaged beside the Hotspur Tower has been replaced.

• A boundary change has been unanimously agreed by the county council. It will see the Covance site, the new high school, nearby housing estate and the extra-care facility at Weavers Way all fall into the Alnwick parish, taken from Denwick.

• The next town council meeting takes place on Thursday, December 8. It is being held in St James’ Church Rooms, Pottergate, starting at 7.15pm. Members of the public are welcome.