Blyth Food Bank

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Harvest Appeal

Last year the families, students and staff responded incredibly generously to the annual Harvest Appeal.  The Harvest appeal poster is included, outlining needed items, however, in terms of appreciating the positive difference that such generosity makes the following extracts from the Blyth Foodbank’s newsletter provides specific details.  The newsletter is copied in full as it highlights particular needs and other ways in which the Foodbank could be supported.  At the moment they are struggling to find folk who could help, even for an hour at the warehouse, to move quite heavy boxes and parcels, as current volunteers are of an age where heavier work of this nature is tough.  If you would like to volunteer then please contact the Foodbank either by the phone number or email address provided below:

NEWS FROM THE BLYTH FOODBANK           September 2021

We continue to provide food parcels in the Blyth and Seaton Valley Area on a regular basis. During the summer we received 403 referrals, and were able to provide for 501 adults and 289 children. We have also provided on average 6 parcels each week for Seaton Valley with whom we work very closely

When we started the foodbank some 6 years ago, the majority of people seeking our help were single men with few single women and few families. This has changed over the last tumultuous 18months. With the Covid Crisis escalating we have seen a large number of referrals for families in our area, families who were struggling to cope in these highly unusual circumstances. The referrals have come from the County Council Communities Together Hub, as well as from schools, Sure Start and Health services. Other agencies such as probation, social services, CAB, Blyth Town Council and a number of homeless charities also make referrals.

This change has not only seen us help families over a short immediate crisis, but also over a longer period of time. We understand that this is because there has been a wait for interviews at the benefit service, and also a delay in receiving Universal Credit, and so we are supporting a small number over a more extended period.

At the end of last year, when the Covid crisis was at its height, donations from many sources came flooding in and we were extremely grateful. However, this too has changed and although we are in a sound financial position, the donations have substantially reduced. We are therefore having to purchase more of the food which goes into our parcels. We also provide, where needed, toiletries, washing powder and other household essentials. We have stocks of nappies and baby food and can also provide pet food when this is requested.

Our volunteer numbers were drastically reduced at the beginning of 2020, and we are in a position where we could take on two or three more folk to help. We work from two adjacent shops in a side street near the centre of Blyth. These shops are not large and can only accommodate three people in each one. The trustees made the decision that we would continue to adhere to the previous guidelines, the volunteers wear masks, regularly use the hand sanitizers and maintain social distancing. We will continue to monitor this situation in order to keep everyone safe both volunteers and visitors. 

We are able to deliver parcels to those who are isolating due to coronavirus and those unable to travel to collect their parcels, these deliveries are usually made at the end of each morning session. Most folk do come to collect, and this is useful as they can then choose additional items which are on display. We remain open on 6 mornings each week although for at a later time on Saturday.

We are not sure what the future holds either in relation to the Covid crisis, or the changes which are likely to be made by the withdrawal of the £20 extra given to those on universal credit. We cannot possibly meet the needs of everyone faced with this unprecedented crisis, but we will do our best.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continuing support

01670 354904 or email; blythfoodbank@email.com

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