Northumberland food banks join forces to make sure residents never go hungry or unsupported

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Four food banks across Northumberland have come together to create the North Food Group.

The food banks in Alnwick, Amble, Berwick and Wooler have formed the group in response to Northumberland County Council’s Communities Together Food Partnership project.

The aim is to coordinate their efforts to make sure members of the community never go hungry or unsupported.

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The food banks are bringing together other charities and projects that provide food support to make sure that all needs are met and new projects are supported if a gap is found.

Northumberland food banks have joined forces to coordinate services.Northumberland food banks have joined forces to coordinate services.
Northumberland food banks have joined forces to coordinate services.

Project leader Becci Murray, who looks after Berwick Food Bank, said: “We have already identified some great projects like Northern Soul Kitchen in Berwick, Bell View at Belford’s new food waste project and community based services such as cooking skills sessions at Community@NE66, to name a few, who are doing a great job bringing wholesome food to local people.

“This has come about as a result of the great work and amazing generosity of our communities pulling together through Covid-19.

"The support from supermarkets, businesses and individuals has been overwhelming with both food and financial donations.

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"The hope is to keep the momentum going and also make sure that we have a comprehensive plan for any future unexpected events like another ‘Beast from the East’.”

Sadly using a food bank has become necessary for more families and individuals than ever.

During the first lockdown in spring, numbers of parcels going out rocketed and is currently still higher than previous years.

The number of people supported by Berwick Food Bank, based at the William Elder Building on Castlegate, is up 58% on last year to date, although up in excess of 200% during lockdown.

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Alnwick Food Bank, based at the Lindisfarne Centre is 350% higher than last year and Amble, based at St Mark’s Church, has had a 280% increase in parcels sent out.

Glendale Gateway Trust only took over the food bank in Wooler as an emergency measure in March so has had a steep learning curve which they have met fantastically well, says Becci.

Northumberland County Council launched its Communities Together initiative to coordinate the volunteering networks that have sprung up during the coronavirus crisis.

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