Alnwick food donations kiosk closes down after fruit used to smash shop window

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A community larder set up in an Alnwick phone box has been closed due to vandalism.

The larder was set up in the first wave of Covid-19 last April as a means of supporting people in need of food in a way that ensured they wouldn’t feel ashamed or judged.

It was run by Mutual Aid Alnwick according to the simple principle of ‘take what you need, leave what you can’.

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It relied on trust and goodwill, and ran without incident until this month.

Alnwick community larder.Alnwick community larder.
Alnwick community larder.

Katie Roskams of Mutual Aid Alnwick said: “Unfortunately, some fruit from the larder was used to smash a shop window nearby and we were asked to close down. This is a huge shame; food poverty is on the rise nationally, and in our town alone.”

The group has been encouraged by an outpouring of support on social media since it announced the larder’s closure.

It is now seeking other ways of continuing to offer support to those in need.

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Katie said: “Alnwick District Food Bank has been busier than ever before. The community larder was a fantastic example of community spirit during a time of crisis, and the economic impact the pandemic will have on people is only just beginning.

Katie Roskams of Mutual Aid Alnwick at the kiosk.Katie Roskams of Mutual Aid Alnwick at the kiosk.
Katie Roskams of Mutual Aid Alnwick at the kiosk.

"We rarely if ever had to ask for donations to the community larder. People kept it topped up entirely autonomously and it was heart-warming to see how people who may have had to go without themselves wanted to help other people in their community. It was a lifeline to some people and we'd like to thank everyone who's helped these people so far.

"We would advocate for better monitoring of the town centre instead of closing us for good; it seems wrong to penalise those struggling the most when all manner of objects, from places other than the larder, could have been used for vandalism."

Anyone able to help advise the group on reopening in a way that would maintain the discrete nature and principle of not judging any individuals for their circumstances is asked to get in touch through its Facebook page or email [email protected].

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Northumberland phone box transformed into donations hub for struggling residents
The closure notice on the kiosk.The closure notice on the kiosk.
The closure notice on the kiosk.

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