Norwich Foodbank tackles the causes of poverty
Norwich Foodbank has taken on Iain Turner to lead a new project dealing with the causes of food poverty.
Norwich Foodbank was started in 2010 as a response to a call from Christians in the city to address the need for emergency food parcels for those who found themselves destitute with nowhere else to turn. From very humble beginnings, the food bank now occupies two warehouse units on the Henderson Business Centre in West Earlham. Supplying nearly 1,000 food parcels a month, it has been instrumental in helping families through the Covid crisis and anticipates demand rising once again as the Universal Credit uplift is removed, furlough ends and winter arrives – the charity’s busiest time of year.
In 2020 the Trussell Trust, under whose umbrella Norwich Foodbank operates, launched a new initiative – the Pathfinder Project. The aim is to give foodbanks the support and resources to establish their own strategic plan for reducing the need for their services in their area through a combination of advocacy, communication and campaigning.
In March 2021 the food bank employed Iain Turner as a dedicated Pathfinder Project Officer and work began.
The Pathfinder Project seeks to change the structures which surround people living in poverty to ensure that they receive the assistance they need before they are plunged into destitution. By addressing the way in which the local community (both statutory agencies and voluntary sector advice and charity organisations) work, it is hoped to streamline services, provide early intervention and reduce the chances of incurring mounting debt.
The project also seeks to change minds by raising awareness of the drivers of food poverty and mitigating against them as far as is possible. There is also a campaigning element to the project’s work which seeks to change policy at both local and national level to bring the poverty discussion to the forefront in the formation and alteration of policy.
Iain Turner said: “For many years we have asked the people of Norwich and surrounding areas to support us with donations of food, funds and time. The response has been astonishing, and the generosity of our donors has allowed us to feed thousands of hungry people as well as so much more, including help with fuel vouchers and basic items such as toiletries and pet food.
“We are now asking for something more – your voice. We are asking organisations such as churches, businesses, clubs, schools and shops to sign up to be ‘Pathfinder Partners’. These partners will receive updates on local and national events, campaigns and the latest research. They will be our advocates – our voice in the community – spreading news of the work that we do and the ways in which people can make a difference. They will lobby local representatives and help us to campaign for a time when everyone has enough to eat, fuel to keep warm and the basic necessities to live with dignity.”
If you would like to know more about becoming a Pathfinder Partner, please email Iain at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured above is Iain Turner