Sheerness food bank success sees 30 more set to open in Kent
Chris Norman is taking on
the role of interim family food bank co-ordinator in Sheerness
by Emma Grove
A family food bank launched on the Isle of Sheppey is
being used as a model to start 30 similar projects across the
Children and Families Ltd started running the service from
Seashells in Sheerness in February last year.
It was set up after Thamesteel in Sheerness closed and 350
people lost their jobs.
The food bank is to help families who have hit financial
shock and since it was launched, more than 300 food boxes have been
distributed to Island people in need - which works out to
almost 20,000 meals.
It is based at the centre in Rose Street, which acts as a
distribution point, providing food to the other children's centres
on Sheppey – Ladybirds in Rushenden and Beaches in Leysdown – where
people who have been referred can go to collect a box.
The project has now had a financial boost of £90,000 through the
Henry Smith Charity, which helps disadvantaged people.
The food bank was set up
when Thamesteel closed in Sheerness
This means food bank worker Chris Norman has been taken on
and will lead the plan to roll out the banks across Kent.
Although he is keen to get started, Mr Norman
says he finds it hard to believe there is a need for
"People that have been involved in community support for years
have said it's almost embarrassing that in this day and age in a
country like this that there's a demand for things like this," he
"But there are some very vulnerable people in society who need
immediate support to get them through a short-term hardship.
"This is one of those things where we hope there isn't a demand
out there but we know there will be pockets in Kent that
desperately need this support and if we can help those families in
the short-term then it's worth it."
Mr Norman, 54, said the idea is to help families out while they
get themselves back on their feet, such as in between losing a job
and benefits kicking in.
The boxes contain enough food to feed a family of four for five
days and donations are always welcome. Non-perishable items such as
tinned food can be dropped off at Seashells.
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