Foodbank bids to highlight plight of those in need

Chris Friend
Chris Friend

A foodbank is seeking to highlight and meet the needs of people who are on the breadline this winter.

Chris Friend, coordinator of Alnwick District Foodbank, says there are many living in the area who rely on this crucial service, but fears there are more who are not yet on the radar.

He said: “There are individuals and families who don’t have enough to feed themselves. I meet people who question whether there is a need in Alnwick in 2015 for a foodbank and the reality is yes, and we need to help.

“We’ve established strong links with referral agencies such as Sure Start, Citizens Advice and Northumberland Emergency Transition Support in order to ensure that we meet the needs of disadvantaged families with a process of accountability and integrity.

“We have helped more than 300 people since we started operating last year, but I believe that we are barely scratching the surface of the need locally. A big part of this might be people’s unwillingness to admit to needing a food parcel because they are embarrassed.

“In recognition of this, the team and myself are seeking to work with other health professionals, such as district nurses, social workers and children’s services who are in a better position to assess need. By partnering with professionals we believe we have a better chance of getting food to those who need it most. We know the need is out there and we want to do our best to meet it.”

Alnwick District Foodbank, part of the North Northumberland Foodbank, is a multi-agency approach, spearheaded by volunteers from churches and other organisations in the town.

The team is looking at becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, meaning it could look for funding streams to appoint a part-time coordinator, as Chris is looking to step down from the role in March 2016.

He added: “I would urge people to keep a look out for those who may be in need of essentials such as food and signpost them to Alnwick District Foodbank.”

For help, call 0300 3031931 or 0344 111444 on weekdays or visit Northumbrian Citizens Advice, Lloyds Bank Chambers, Bondgate Within, Alnwick, between 9am and 1pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.