Martham churches’ foodbank meets local needs
The churches in Martham in East Norfolk are working to provide a foodbank to meet local needs during the coronavirus crisis, but this may become permanent after the lockdown eases.
Revd Dr Steven Sivyer, vicar of St Mary’s Church in Martham, pictured above, explains:
“Soon after I arrived in Martham eighteen months ago, I became aware that there was a need for a foodbank in Martham. At Harvest last year, when the principal of the local primary school, Martham Academy, commented that it was a shame that the food collected would be sent to its nearest foodbank in Great Yarmouth when there are hungry families in Martham who could not get there, I knew that God was prompting me to act.
“Conversations began with the leaders of all the churches in Martham as well as both of the schools in the village with the intention of extending these conversations to other community groups. Then the pandemic hit. The local secondary school, Flegg High Ormiston Academy, had begun collecting provisions every week, known as ‘Foodbank Friday’ and then schools had to close. It was at this point when those in need were now most vulnerable that we knew had to turn our conversations into action. In Martham we enjoy excellent relationships between the churches, and it was time to develop our common prayer life into action for our community.
“Flegg High moved the provisions that they had collected to the church so that these could be shared with families from the school who were in need. The Foodbank had unofficially begun. Soon afterwards, a system was built in place with other the churches so that provisions could be delivered to households in need. Martham Parish Council and Martham Boat Dyke Trust also gave financial help so that PPE and fresh provisions could be bought to supplement what was given.
“The arrival of the Foodbank was then published with each church leader’s house in Martham being offered as a drop-off point for donations and we were very quickly blessed by the community’s generosity; this allowed us to extend the reach of our help out to the wider Flegg area. A number of people have commented that they are willing to help once we come out of lockdown, and conversations about a permanent base for the Foodbank has begun.”
Project name: Martham Foodbank
Co-ordinator: Revd Dr Steven Sivyer
Catchment area: The Flegg area
Project base: The Rectory, School Road, Martham. NR29 4PX
Contact details: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or phone: 01493 740823.
Current needs: Food donations are not needed at present. An announcement will be made when donations are, again, needed.