On Friday, ahead of the Swansea game, The Canaries Trust are organising are organising a foodbank collection. We spoke to Nick Buck, Canaries Trust board member and the manager of Norfolk County Council's 'Joy of Food' cookery skills programme, about the plans.
I am a football fan and, more specifically, a Norwich City fan and a member of The Canaries Trust.
I also like to eat and eat well, and I am fortunate that I can more or less choose to eat what I want, when I want to eat it.
For the last 8 years I have been involved with the ‘Joy of Food’ a free cookery skills programme which is now a part of Norfolk Community Learning Services (used to be Adult Education) working with the most disadvantaged people in our county, I have seen at first hand the difficulty people have in feeding themselves and their families.
I spend my time trying to give others, most of whom are not as fortunate as I am, the opportunity to learn how to prepare food for themselves and their families, eke out their often very small food budget and thus eat a little better than previously.
What this has shown me is that many people struggle to cook, and eat well, and more importantly and increasingly in the last few years too many people are unable to obtain enough food to eat, let alone eat well.
As part of this work I became aware of Foodbanks and initially, if I am honest, I was suspicious and a little cynical of their purpose and place in society. It didn’t take long to convince me otherwise…
There are 9 separate foodbank charities serving those living within Norfolk who are in crisis. Trussell Trust Foodbanks within Norfolk gave out almost 9,500 food parcels (each providing the recipient with at least 3 days of food) during April to September 2018.
All items in a food parcel are non-perishable and the majority of foodstuffs are donated by generous members of the public through permanent collection points in supermarkets, churches and one-off collections by schools and businesses.
All of them work on a referral voucher basis, which ensures that those using the services are also getting additional support with the issues they are facing - employment, benefits, debt, housing, etc.
We should not have Foodbanks, there simply should not be the need for them, but whoever unlikely you might think it is in one of the richest countries in the world, they sadly have become a necessity.
I recently became a Board member of The Canaries Trust, and I learned that they had approached the Club about hosting a Foodbank Collection at a home match. Given my ‘day job’ I had to be involved.
As such, I am now leading on organising a collection ahead of the home match against Swansea on 8th March, which your help in supporting would be hugely appreciated.
The most needed items at this specific moment are;
If you can bring any of these items with you on Saturday to leave in our Foodbank collection points, handily located around Carrow Road, please do.
We hope to replicate the excellent work that’s been done by groups such as ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’ (@SFoodbanks), a Mersyside based movement and The Football Supporters Federation. Successful collections have already been held at Stoke, Middlesborough, QPR and Hibernian to name a few, along with the Merseyside clubs.
Football fans may get a bad press in the newspapers, but we are all people and we are one big community, who have repeatedly shown that we can come together and make a positive difference to our city and county.
As Chair of Fans Supporting Foodbanks Dave Kelly said of their work; “We want to give encouragement to football fans, campaigners and businesses and show them what can be done by football fans coming together to help combat food poverty locally. This grassroots initiative has caught the imagination in the UK. And whilst we wish that there wasn’t a need for foodbanks, for as long as there is, we view football fans getting together for the greater good of their communities as a good thing”.