Wooler Food Bank sees 300% rise in demand during lockdown

There has been a 300% increase in uptake at Wooler Food Bank during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The food bank was moved from the fire station to the Cheviot Centre in the early part of lockdown to ensure the local community could still get access.

Rachel Sinton of Glendale Gateway Trust, in a message to Wooler Parish Council, revealed: “There has been a 300% increase in use of the food bank since its move to the Cheviot Centre. I suspect it’s a mixture of higher level of promotion and more people in need due to the virus.

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“Well over 100 heavy bags of food have been delivered and collected in Wooler and beyond. We have been able to be very generous with all requests thanks to the huge generosity of businesses in Glendale.

Wooler Food Bank.Wooler Food Bank.
Wooler Food Bank.

“There has been an increase recently in donations of identically branded goods such as pasta, oats, UHT milk, tea, coffee, tins etc which we think may have come from those in receipt of government food parcels for which they have no need so it’s getting to those in financial distress in the end.”

Parish council chairman Mark Mather encouraged anyone in need of food support to get directly in touch with the Glendale Gateway Trust.

“Although it’s a 300% increase there’s not a lot of people using it so anyone in need of food support should contact GGT direct,” he said.

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The council’s coronavirus support work for the community has slowed down but remains available if needed.

Wooler Food Bank.Wooler Food Bank.
Wooler Food Bank.

“We’re very much still here,” said Coun Mather. “We’ve got resources available for food support, phone support, financial advice or medication deliveries.”

Its food parcels project has stopped but there is a limited amount of produce from Age UK in stock and there is funding to produce meal packs if the demand is there.

Coun Mather revealed that Wooler has been selected for a pilot project in partnership with Newcastle Building Society. It is seeking to create an app to ensure the volunteering response within the community continues.

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The parish council has also purchased more than 60 books, including wordsearches and mindfulness advice, and 40 cross-stitch packs which are in the wool shop.

Wooler Food Bank shelves.Wooler Food Bank shelves.
Wooler Food Bank shelves.

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Food bank donations can be made at the Cheviot Centre.Food bank donations can be made at the Cheviot Centre.
Food bank donations can be made at the Cheviot Centre.

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