Increase in demand for Northumberland food banks

CSO Nicola Raisbeck with Jean Bell and many of the donations at the Briardale Community Centre in Blyth.
CSO Nicola Raisbeck with Jean Bell and many of the donations at the Briardale Community Centre in Blyth.
  • Quirky festive campaign, featuring an elf, helped to raise awareness of community support group

New figures show a 10 per cent rise in demand for Berwick Food Bank over the past year.

In 2017 the food bank has given out 403 food parcels; these have supported 451 children and 469 adults.

“This is an increase on 2016 of 10 per cent as the trend year on year continues to rise,” revealed Becci Murray, manager at Berwick Community Trust’s Here for You project.

“As 2018 starts we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the food bank either with donations of items for the parcels or with their time.

“Without the generosity of our community we would not be able to support local people in their time of need.

“We anticipate the use of the food bank to continue to increase and would welcome donations as we re-stock after the Christmas period.

“Currently we are short of jam, peanut butter, tinned meat, rice pudding and tinned fruit and would particularly welcome donations of these items, although any donations are gratefully received.”

Berwick Food Bank received great support in the run up to Christmas with generous donations from individuals, churches and local businesses.

Becci added: “We would like to thank Tesco for allowing us to collect food from shoppers in their store, to Asda for donating the bags to pack the parcels and for their food donations, to Poundland for donating selection boxes, to Argos staff for the Advent calendars and to the Newcastle Building Society for their collections, helping man the food collection in Tesco and also their executive team who came to the William Elder Building to help sort the donations from Tesco.”

Meanwhile, an elf helped to raise awareness of an initiative in aid of Blyth Foodbank.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Nicola Raisbeck came up with the idea and she was joined by Buddy – the shelf-stocking elf – when she collected items from schools, agencies and local and county organisations.

In addition, local churches, businesses and clubs donated to the food bank to support families in need of help over the holidays. Those who receive the food are referred to the charitable trust by professionals.

PCSO Raisbeck said: “I got chatting to Briardale Community Centre manager Jean Bell, an important member of the food bank team, and she said the weeks leading up to Christmas is a key time to raise awareness.

“The food and other items, including donations from the Blyth neighbourhood policing team, was taken to the Community Centre in the biggest size van the Force has got and it’s great that many families were supported over Christmas. I’m thrilled with the response.”