Northumberland food banks provide one of the most extensive aid collaborations in Britain. Local citizens are able to get assistance with when bills and other debts drain the entire paycheck prior to the next payday.
This social welfare movement is made possible through the Northumberland Emergency Food Provision programme. It is a major segment of the Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETs) programme. Council provides support and referrals, but most of the results are made possible thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers.
Each food bank as well as soup kitchen in the area distributes food or serves free hot meals that were donated by neighbours, businesses and charities. Supermarkets have also been a big supporter. Donations are aggregated by volunteers who repackage the items into convenient food parcels that may be picked up at one of these locations.
The Amble Food Bank has broad support from area organisations. It is supported by Northumberland Citizens Advice Bureau, Amble Development Trust, Amble Youth Project, Barclays, Co-op and Coquet Churches Together. Its success is largely based on Vineyard Amble, which is an organisation run by Tyneside Vineyard Church. This location stands apart from others due to the sheer volume of food that is packaged for each recipient. While most food banks provide three days of food per parcel, Amble Food Bank puts together substantial packages that can provide nutritional support to feed a family for a couple of weeks. A referral from a family physician or district nurse is necessary unless the person is already a client of Northumbrian CAB or Amble Youth Project. Amble Food Bank serves families of Amble, Hauxley and Warkworth. Enquiries may be directed to Vineyard Amble at 07770 336230.
Bedlington Salvation Army Emergency Food Parcels also serves Blyth and nearby communities. While information may be provided at 01670 829356, the organisation does not provide drop in service. Residents can become eligible for food aid by first calling NETs at 01661 713109 or The Probation Service. Three days of food can be provided. Other supplies such as sleeping bags are sometimes available in extreme emergencies.
Bernicia Group provides food bank support to its tenants throughout Northumberland. The affordable home builder and social landlord is committed to ensuring that its residents can afford to live comfortably. Food donations may be picked up by tenants who qualify for aid based on demonstrated need. Those who have experienced a recent hardship or unemployment as well as new tenants are welcome to request aid. Tenants may call 0191 238 3849 for details and to arrange a pickup of a parcel containing up to a dozen items.
Council support is available from the Northumberland Emergency Transition Support scheme. This is a welfare type programme that can help families facing a crisis, and up to seven days of free food may be provided to residents. The aim is on the vulnerable that are facing a one off crisis, and there are other forms of assistance provided from the scheme too, including clothing, signposting to soup kitchens or local food banks, and more. Learn more on Northumberland Emergency Transition Support.
The Matthew Project is a service of Bedlington Christian Fellowship. A parcel will generally feed most families for three days, and three total parcels are allowed for each household. A referral is required from one of these organisations: Barnardos, Children’s Services, Citizens Advice Bureau, Family Recovery Programme, Health Visitors, Northumberland Recovery Partnership, The Probation Service, Social Services or Sure Start. The Matthew Project serves citizens of Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Cambois, Choppington, Cramlington, Guidepost, Morpeth, Newbiggin by the Sea, Stakeford, and West Sleekburn. Enquiries are taken at 01670 829062.
North Food Bank serves the villages of Amble, Alnwick, Beadnell, Belford, Berwick, Felton, Hadston, Seahouses, Rothbury and Wooler. Emergency food aid is available without a referral, but clients are expected to meet with a budget adviser with Citizens Advice Bureau if they need additional food supplies. Three bags are initially available without a referral. Thanks to community support, North Food Bank is able to provide fresh eggs, milk, bread, fruits and vegetables in addition to the dry food donations for families that have very small children. Clients may call 01289 303366 to arrange for a pickup in Berwick. For those who live in coastal areas or Coquetdale, enquiries may be directed to NETs at 03003 031931 or to the Northumberland Adviceline at 0844 111 444.
Wansbeck Valley Food Bank provides food aid to the communities of Ashington, Hadston, Longhorsley, Lynemouth, Mitford, Morpeth, Newbiggin, Pegswood, Stannington and Widdrington. Clients must be referred by an approved aid agency, though referrers may call 07841 908477 for information about making a referral on behalf of a client. Several agencies are already on the approved list, including Age UK, Barnabas, Bernicia, Children’s Services, Dawn Advice, GPs, Health Visitors, ISOS, Jobcentre Plus, NHS Trusts and Social Services. In addition any Citizens Action Bureau may make a referral.
West Northumberland Food Bank was started by Hexham Community Partnership which collaborates with other community aid agencies. The service can provide enough food for three days, offering three meals a day during that span. Families living in Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge, Hexham east and west, Kielder, and Prudhoe. While area Citizens Advice Bureau, Social Services, and Sure Start Children Centre provide many of the referrals, West Northumberland Food Bank will consider referrals from any aid agency or professional that calls at 07443 519 852.
Any additional information about food banks may be obtained by calling VoiCeS Northumberland at 01661 713109. The NETs scheme is designed to replace the DWP discretionary grants and crisis loans that are no longer available.