A Day in the Life…

… Hannah, Project Manager for Norwich foodbank, Thursday 6th January 2022:

8.30am Catching up on emails and messages from the previous day, including a request for support with gas and electricity from a client via a text the previous evening, a request from another foodbank to be linked up with our warehouse manager as they have a new person starting in that role and would like to pick the brains of someone already in post and sending out a survey from a national charity to our referral agencies to get their feedback on local food /
welfare provision.

Preparation including volunteer confidentiality agreements / application forms / handbooks, local stats and most importantly (!) refreshments for a meeting tomorrow regarding opening up our 9th distribution centre which has been closed since March 2020.

Catch up in person with our warehouse manager about how things are post-Christmas and plans for the coming weeks in terms of extra shifts and catch up on the phone with our Pathfinder lead at the Trussell Trust in regards to what our priorities will be over the coming months.

(In between, answer the phone ‘how do I get a foodbank referral?’ ‘when are you next open for us to come with a donation’? ‘how do I refer my client for a foodbank parcel?’ ‘the nicest Christmas card I received this year was your charity card – do you have any more I can buy for this year?’ … and respond to emails ‘can someone come and speak at our Beavers group one Wednesday evening?’ ‘further to your funding application, the grants panel have asked these follow up questions?’ ‘how do I get a foodbank parcel?’ ‘how do I access the e-voucher system?’ ‘I’d like to volunteer, do you need me / how do I apply?’…)

12.30pm Off to one of our distribution centres with a car-boot full of food parcels, Christmas treats and toiletries as the leader is away and one other team member is off ill.

4pm Home as the centre was on the way home and I had remembered my laptop…! Catch up with a volunteer who we had hoped could use skills and knowledge from another role for us, but it’s proving a bit more complicated so we both need to work out what / where / how before moving forward. Catch up with another foodbank about this same issue as well as volunteer inductions and lots of ‘how do YOU do this’ which is always helpful! Catch up on emails and messages that have come in during the afternoon and continue to work on the latest newsletter which we want to finish and share by the end of next week and this will be one of the articles…!

In For a Penne…

The expression ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ is used to ‘express someone’s intention to see an undertaking through, however much time, effort, or money this entails’. This describes the Trussell Trust’s strategy to tackle and challenge not just hunger but poverty in the UK and is a vision we at Norwich foodbank share too.

As we enter 2022, this will be Norwich foodbank’s 12th year of operating. The years have seen many changes, developments and challenges but the core work has remained the same – ensuring local people in need receive food and support to try and ensure a repeat visit isn’t needed.

In 2010, Norwich foodbank was run entirely by volunteers out of a garage and 3 distribution centres. In 2022, the charity employs a full-time manager, 4 part-time staff (three in the office and a warehouse manager) and operate out a office, 2 warehouse units and 8 distribution centres. One thing that has remained the same is that the foodbank is heavily reliant on and thankful for almost 200 volunteers who help them distribute around 10,000 food parcels a year.

Everyone knows the the pandemic has caused so much to change – from both a personal and professional perspective – and some changes have been really positive and others have been pretty challenging.

One change Norwich foodbank has experienced is a surge in support, from existing donors who have given more and continue to do so and from new individuals, churches and businesses who we hope to encourage to continue. So to increase the footprint the charity currently has, alongside the website and social media channels, this blog will continue to be used to inform, update and encourage. Please do share and comment.

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