Thetford foodbank set up

A major initiative has been launched in a Norfolk town to help people in crisis through redundancy, illness, injury or bereavement.

A foodbank scheme has been set up in Thetford to provide emergency supplies to people struggling to buy food and 25 volunteers were out in force at the Tesco store in nearby Kilverstone on Friday to appeal for shoppers to help with food donations.

The foodbank’s manager Ali James said the scheme was dependent on donations of tinned and dried food from schools, churches, businesses and individuals within the town to be successful, so the volunteers had chosen to hand out leaflets at Tesco.

She added in Thetford, the Abbey estate was among the top 15pc in the country on indexes of deprivation across the country, while the St Johns and Barnham Cross estates also ranked highly.

The help was aimed particularly at those faced with being unable to afford their next meal, she added.

Care agencies including job centres and social service teams refer their clients to the foodbank initiative if they are in desperate need and have vouchers which they can give them enabling them to receive three days of free food.

So far, the foodbank volunteers have collected 0.8 tons of dried and tinned food, which has been stored in a warehouse ready to be distributed.

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The group is made up of church volunteers from the Thetford Christians Together group and is based at the Liberty Christian Family Centre. Nationally, the foodbanks are run by the Trussell Trust, which has already launched 163 across the UK.

The foodbank is open between 12.30pm and 2pm on Mondays and 10.30am and noon on Saturdays.

“Since the end of July, 33 foodbanks have opened, at least one a week across the UK.

“It is part of the Conservatives’ Big Society idea, the community is helping to feed the community,” Mrs James added.