Newark and Tuxford Foodbank to open social supermarket after it sees increase in usage
Nearly 3,000 people have been helped by Newark and Tuxford Foodbank in 12 months — a 12% increase on the previous period — a new report has revealed.
In the same period, April 2020 to March 2021, the Newark-based foodbank received 46.5 tonnes of donations — a 60% increase — and distributed 35.7 tonnes of food worth £61,100, providing 26,163 meals.
A social supermarket is now to be launched in Newark to ensure the community's most vulnerable, or those just going through hard times, are catered for.
Newark Community Support will allow people to use the social supermarket to collect essentials for a small price.
The red food voucher system will be dropped and replaced with a membership card on the first visit, giving individuals and families greater freedom in choosing what they need.
Stephen Charnock, chairman of trustees at Newark and Tuxford Foodbank, said the supermarket, along with the foodbank, would help ensure no one in Newark and Sherwood went hungry.
"If you need food, we can give you food," he said.
"Some people that come to us, their lives seem like one crisis after another, but others will visit us just the once because they've paid out for something big that month and need help getting by.
"However, we will never turn anyone away.
"With the social supermarket, we hope it will take away any stigma that comes with using a foodbank — people will contribute to the cost of their items as well as the running costs."
Mr Charnock said the social supermarket would ask for £3 or £4 in return for around 20 to 25 items, ranging from fresh produce to pasta, tins and toiletries.
"We hope that people using the supermarket will only need to do so around three times during a six-month period. If they are using it more, we need to have a sit down and conversation with that person as to what needs they have, and see if we can work with other agencies in the area to resolve some issues," he said.
From April 2020 to March 2021, the foodbank, based at Barnbygate Methodist Church, provided three days of emergency food relief to 2,907 clients, despite it having to adapt to the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic.
A total of 48 volunteers give up more than 5,500 hours of their time.
The report revealed more than 50% of its clients only used the foodbank once in a six-month period, however, more people than ever were visiting more than once — with 14% using it more than three times during six months.
People using the foodbank include those with a benefit delays, low income, debt, and sickness.
The social supermarket and foodbank is set to move to a different location near Newark town centre. Each facility will operate on different days throughout the week, with the space being offered to other charities in the area on non-operational days.