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Bury St Edmunds foodbank charity appeals for financial support to help feed those in need

A Bury St Edmunds charity which runs a foodbank says it needs financial donations to ensure the vulnerable can continue to be fed during and after the coronavirus crisis.

At midday on Tuesday, Gatehouse had already delivered 25 food parcels to those in need - compared to an average of about 35 a week it handed out before the pandemic.

It expects the number to increase as the crisis unfolds and is asking those who wish to support them to make financial donations so the charity can buy food from wholesalers and supermarkets.

Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive of Gatehouse. Picture by Penny Morgan
Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive of Gatehouse. Picture by Penny Morgan

Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive of Gatehouse, said the foodbank may have to support more people when the crisis subsides and communities begin to rebuild.

“If you support us now, we can help you once the crisis is over,” she said.

“There will be people who have lost their jobs and I think people will be having to restart their businesses so they maybe needing help with food.

“We’re hoping during the crisis the Government will do as much as they can to support but it maybe that after the crisis it’s back to the voluntary sector.”

Gatehouse runs a dementia hub and staff are keeping in touch with clients and carers over the phone.

“We’re doing welfare calls to check they’re safe in their homes, that they have available to them the medical help they need and also to provide that emotional support to carers,” Amanda said.

“I think it’s having an effect on people’s mental health already. We’re trying to give as much support as we can. Having to care for loved ones at home and not getting that respite break they would normally have through us will definitely have an effect.”

The charity is working with West Suffolk Council’s families and communities team and delivering emergency furniture to those being rehoused. It has also joined forces with CASA restaurant, which is running a scheme for people buy meals for the vulnerable.

Asked about the impact on the charity, Amanda said: “We’ve had some staff members who have had to self isolate due to medical conditions. We’re one big family so we’re pulling together and supporting each other.”

Visit www.gatehouse.org.uk/donate/

  • Foodbanks across Suffolk are also being given a share of £60,000 from Suffolk County Council.