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Newark and Tuxford Foodbank provided over 27,000 meals and helped thousands more people in 2021

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The Newark and Tuxford Foodbank supported more than 3,000 people and provided over 27,000 meals last year from its 31 tonnes of food donations.

The foodbank has thanked the public for its support over the past year as without its help, a lot more people would have gone hungry.

Chairman of trustees Stephen Charnock said it was somewhat ironic that had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic, it wouldn’t have been possible to move the foodbank to its larger Catergate location under name Newark Community Support.

Stephen Charnock, chair of trustees at Newark and Tuxford Foodbank, and manager Lesley Marshall.
Stephen Charnock, chair of trustees at Newark and Tuxford Foodbank, and manager Lesley Marshall.

“It has been very encouraging to have received so much support in getting this project off the ground,” said Mr Charnock.

“This is all at a time when demand for our services remains high.

“The pandemic has made us look again at how we provide support to those in need. As we get more established in Cartergate, and instal some much-needed heating, we hope to be able to increase the range of services we can offer under the umbrella of Newark Community Support.

Newark Community Support by Newark Foodbank on Cartergate. (53317412)
Newark Community Support by Newark Foodbank on Cartergate. (53317412)

“Many of us will have found the last year difficult both financially and mentally.

“We already have started running foodbank sessions from there but the location and space provides so much potential for what is planned for the future.”

Mr Charnock said it was easy to try and categorise those who need help from foodbanks, but that the truth was anyone could be just one pay cheque away from needing the help.

“Redundancy, a big bill, some family crisis, clothes for kids at school, or replacement of a broken washing machine can all result in difficult choices needing to be made,” he said.

“Regardless of the reason, no one should have to go hungry and we are there to help. If a client’s crisis is a short-term issue then providing food is relatively simple, however, for many the crisis is much more complex and long-term.

“Simply providing food in these circumstances rarely if ever resolves the underlying problems which many face including for example getting oneself out of debt. For this reason, the foodbank has always relied on a referral system which ensures clients get the help they need to see them through their crisis. We can and will help, but clients also need to seek help from other agencies and organisations.”

Early this year, the foodbank will open a social supermarket and once restrictions permit, offer the spare space to other community groups and charities to hold workshops.

Mr Charnock said what Newark needed in the future was the establishment of a much larger community network hub from which a large range of community organisations can operate.

“Newark Community Support is the first step in achieving this ambition,” he said.

“While the foodbank is primarily focused on providing short-term emergency food relief, over the last couple years it has become very clear that for many, their crisis needs longer term support both from ourselves and our support agencies.

“The social supermarket will offer more long-term support. People will be able to become members and can visit once every two weeks.

“In exchange for a small visit fee, which will help offset some of our running costs, they will be able to choose from a range of products.”

He added the intention was not to replace a weekly shop, but to help groceries go further. Like the foodbank, clients wanting to become members of the supermarket will need a referral from one of the support organisations.

Membership will last for six months, during which time it is hoped they will receive support needed to resolve their crisis. If membership beyond is required, members will need to be referred again by a support agency.

Newark Community Support will be holding a volunteer recruitment drive for customer-facing roles, PR and fundraising, warehousing, transport and data analysis. Details on the foodbank’s website in the new year.

“We are all keen to be able to move on from the difficulties that all of us have experienced during the pandemic,” said Mr Charnock. “Our volunteers have done an amazing job over the last two years and all deserve a break.”

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