What’s it like inside a Foodbank?


If you have caught any news over the past few years, you’ve probably heard about the rise in Foodbank use. But it’s hard to imagine what a Foodbank is really like. Well we invite people in to have a seat , a cuppa , some biscuits or and a chat. Our volunteers talk to people about services locally and try to reassure you that help is available.

We work hard to provide everyone referred with the best service possible – for example, we work with Tesco, Morrisons Greggs and the food redistribution charity FareShare to offer fresh baked goods, fruit, veg and sometimes fresh eggs alongside our standard non-perishable food parcel where possible.  We’re able to offer extras like toiletries, pet food, baby items like nappies and baby food. We always have a ‘help yourself’ table in our centre and a box of sanitary products so people can help themselves to some extra items.

This extra support isn’t limited to physical stuff.

A big part of what we do is offering advice about where to access help with the cause of the crisis. Our volunteers talk to people about services available locally, and once a week we have a staff member from MESH actually in the foodbank centre, offering advice and support to people right at the point when it’s most needed.

These links with local agencies and charities are really important to us because working together across the community means people at risk of hunger are linked into emergency support faster. Everyone who comes to our foodbank is referred by one of these local agencies, and we’re able to signpost people to agencies if they’re not already linked up. We also deliver emergency food boxes to those unable to leave their homes.

At the same time as making sure all this support is in place, we’re also determined to address the bigger issues and challenge the reasons why people struggle to afford food. We send an annual report to local councillors so they know the reality people are facing. We’ve been working to pilot a fuel bank helping ease the burden of high heating and energy costs.The thing that underpins absolutely everything we do is ensuring everyone who comes to us is treated with dignity and respect.

No one should be unable to afford food and we know it can be hard to come to a foodbank. Our centre isn’t fancy but everyone says it’s welcoming, and that’s just how we want it to feel  We make sure there’s emergency food, extra items, additional support in the long term and we advocate with our local representatives.

We’ll continue to be here for people whilst we’re still needed, but at the same time we’ll continue to keep working towards our ultimate goal: seeing an end to the need for our foodbank in Great Yarmouth.