An £8,000 donation from Karbon Homes has provided a vital boost to the income of seven foodbanks across the region, helping to provide support to more local residents experiencing food poverty.
The donation, which was split between foodbanks operating in communities with high numbers of Karbon Homes properties, was gifted in response to growing concerns that the number of foodbank users will only continue to rise over the coming months.
£1,000 of the donation went to West Northumberland Foodbank which has had to completely adapt its service to keep people safe through the pandemic and is now offering a daily telephone helpline and a food delivery service, instead of its original drop-ins.
Sam Gilchrist, Project Manager at West Northumberland Foodbank, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had such a huge impact on members of our local communities, with more and more people coming to us for support. On average four households every week come to us for help for the first time. The age and situation of those people varies greatly, along with the support they need.
“Some only needing us for a few weeks to get them through a financial crisis such as a sudden job loss, change of circumstances or illness, others who are in in persistent poverty, often with poor mental and or physical health, need our help for longer to stay out of further debt and hardship.
“Our targeted support workers on the helpline take around 80 calls a week, reassuring people that help is there and people do care, and our logistics volunteers source, sort, pack and deliver around 150 bags of food every week supplemented with vouchers for fresh food. Since March 2020 we’ve completed 3,200 doorstep deliveries covering around 12,000 delivery miles.”
West Northumberland Foodbank’s area stretches from the Cumbrian border in the West to Ponteland in the East and up North to Otterburn and Kielder, a 78-mile round trip from its main base in Hexham.
Sam added: “We have been amazed by the generosity and compassion of people throughout our communities who share our values of caring about each other and looking after each other.
“We appreciate this donation from Karbon Homes in recognition for all the support we’ve given to Karbon Homes residents over the last eight years, helping them stay out of further hardship and debt.
Philip Pollard, Assistant Director of Customer and Community Engagement at Karbon, paid a visit to the food band depot on Burn Lane in Hexham, to have a look around the facility and to meet the team.
Philip said: “It was great to be able to meet the team and get a glimpse of how our donation will help. Many of our residents have benefitted from the support of the foodbank over the years and I’m looking forward to exploring which other ways we can work together in the future.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer support to all seven of the foodbanks who received a donation and fully recognise the positive contribution they are making in helping to feed those most in need in communities through these difficult times.”
The £8,000 donation from Karbon was split amongst Wansbeck Valley Foodbank, which covers Morpeth and South East Northumberland, Sunderland Foodbank, Durham Foodbank, West Northumberland Foodbank, Newcastle West End Foodbank, The Bay, which covers North Tyneside, and Hartlepool Foodbank.