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Great Yarmouth
Emergency Delivery

Great Yarmouth Foodbank Emergency Delivery Service

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The Great Yarmouth Foodbank Emergency Delivery Service has got emergency food parcels to more than 720 people since the Corona Virus lockdown began.

The service, which was the brain-child of Liz Townson of Gorleston Baptist Church, was set up in response to the Covid-19 crisis and to complement the foodbank’s existing provision which operates by a voucher-referral system out of Great Yarmouth Salvation Army, Gorleston Baptist Church and St Mary Magdalene Church, Gorleston.

Anna Heydon of Imagine Norfolk Together in Great Yarmouth, which seeks to coordinate the community provision of churches in the borough, explains, “we realised early on that our existing system would not adequately meet the needs of the current crisis, especially if people were unable to leave them homes. So, for people who are forced to self-isolate and are not able to source food in any other way, we are offering a self-referral delivery service.”

People in need of the service call a dedicated phone line, are quickly assessed against our criteria and then receive a delivery of a seven-day emergency food parcel.

Between the beginning of lockdown and the end of April, a total of 431 deliveries have been made, serving 475 adults and 248 children.

One parcel was delivered to an older man, who was struggling with his mental health, and his wife. Upon receiving the delivery, he said he was overwhelmed by the amount of food and the cake which was on the top. "You’ve put a smile on my face," he said "my wife will ask what’s happened to me when I go in". Another delivery went to a lady who phoned back after she had received it to say she’d never had so much food to put in her cupboards all at once! She usually helps others and really appreciated the help given to her that day.

Rev Matthew Price, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Gorleston which is acting as one of the food depots for the new service said, “it’s been wonderful to see the community response to the current crisis. There is now a team of nearly 100 volunteers acting as call handlers, shoppers, food parcel packers and delivery drivers. We’ve also been really touched by the donations of food, and money, we have received from both individuals and businesses.”

“It is often the vulnerable who are hit hardest by a crisis like this and we are delighted to be working in close partnership with both Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the other churches in the borough in seeking to meet some of their most pressing needs.”

Anyone who is self-isolating and unable to get food in any other way can contact the delivery helpline on 07907 616566.

In addition to the emergency delivery service, the usual foodbank distribution times at the Salvation Army, Gorleston Baptist Church and St Mary Magdalene Church are continuing to operate for those with vouchers. Clients are requested to observe strict social distancing measures when they attend. Further details can be found on the website at www.greatyarmouthfoodbank.co.uk.

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Thanks to Revd. Matthew Price from St Mary Magdalene Church in Gorleston for this article