20151023_110900 (002) Foodbank

West Northumberland Food Bank was a project hosted by Hexham Community Partnership and is now an independent charity set up specifically to help people in hardship across West Northumberland. We do this primarily through our Food Bank and also through Eat Well for Less cookery sessions and through our Welfare Rights Advocacy service.  We have five trustees, a part time Welfare Support Worker and a Project Coordinator who support around 80 local volunteers in a variety of roles. We are based in an industrial unit in Hexham, which is the hub of our food distribution network, and our motto is “together we can make a difference”!

We operate through a network of local food donation points throughout the community, including Beales, Waitrose and Tesco in Hexham. We are very proud of the great public support we receive, month after month the public continue to be very generous with cash and food donations, over £80,000 worth of food has been donated by local people since we opened in June 2013.

In that time, we have met over 4,500 requests for help, provided over 8,000 bags of tinned and dried food, fresh bread and vegetables and other household provisions to at least 700 households across West Northumberland.

During the last quarter of 2016 we met 365 requests for help from 141 households, helping to feed 157 adults and 89 children (67 families and 55 single households).

In Hexham alone we met 208 requests for help from 92 households, and in January 2017 a further 11 Hexham households turned to the Food Bank for the first time along with many more people across West Northumberland, increasing demand on our services by 90% on the previous year.

People turned to us for a number of reasons but we have seen a marked increase in people who are employed but still in hardship and clearly struggling; 30% of requests for help in January 2017 were from people in Low Paid Work with Debt and budgeting accounted for 29% of requests.

It is estimated that around one million children are fed by food banks in the UK and around 500 of them live right here in West Northumberland. Twenty percent of the children we have helped to feed are under four years old, a further 20% are aged 5-11 and 13% are aged 11-16. Around 260 of those children live in households who have had to turn to the food bank for help over a number of weeks, and sometimes months, in the struggle to feed their family on low incomes.

Fifty-two percent of the people we have helped since we opened have only needed to visit us once to get them through a tough week or a sudden short term crisis. The rest need our support for a number of weeks and sometimes months, and this is generally due to a new benefits claim delay, particularly when someone has just lost their job or is unable to work through sickness or disability and is navigating the benefits system for the first time. To help people in this position, we have a Welfare Rights Advocacy Service staffed by volunteers.

We provide a safety net for people in hardship; most people who come to the Food Bank are deeply ashamed to ask for help and feel alone with the problems they are facing. Very often people who access our Food Bank are overwhelmed with the generosity of local people who donate food and for people, who are supported by our team of Welfare Rights volunteers, a caring friendly person to listen to them, have a cup of tea with and help them make difficult phone calls and fill out forms can make a great deal of difference.

If you need our help, we are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 am-12 noon at:

Hexham – Unit 2, Hexham Enterprise Hub, Burn Lane, Hexham NE46 3HN

Haltwhistle – Haltwhistle Library, Westgate, Haltwhislte NE49 0AX

Prudhoe – Prudhoe Methodist Church, West Road, NE42 6HR

Phone: 01434 700 068

Text: 07443 519 852

Email: westnorthumberlandfoodbank@gmail.com 

Facebook: West Northumberland Food Bank

You can help by:

Donating  tinned and dried food and toiletries at Beales, Tesco or Waitrose in Hexham or bringing it to the Food Bank at Unit 2, Hexham Enterprise Hub, Burn Lane, Hexham NE46 3HN.

There are a number of ways you can donate cash to West Northumberland Food Bank; your gift really will help make a difference to people in poverty across West Northumberland. Please contact us for more information.