Town hall becomes coronavirus food handout hub
PUBLISHED: 13:44 29 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 29 March 2020
A council has transformed its town hall into a food distribution hub and redeployed over 100 staff members into a new community taskforce.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Community Team said it was working “to ensure all residents can access support through these difficult and unprecedented times”.
Stocks of food stored in the town hall will be used to keep community-run foodbanks going during a time of increased demand.
Staff are also helping with welfare checks and medicine delivery - as well as moving homeless people into temporary accommodation.
Earlier this week, the council appealed to wholesalers for food - a response met by supermarkets and holiday parks, who offered up 800kg in pasta.
A refrigerated trailer for the Salvation Army has also been brought in to help store the huge influx of surplus perishable food donated by holiday parks.
Council leader Carl Smith said: “Together, we’re doing everything we can to support our communities through this fast-developing situation, especially our most vulnerable residents.
“I would like to pay tribute to the sterling efforts of our council staff, volunteers, partners and NHS during these challenging times.
“We are there to help our communities and we all have an important part to play in protecting the NHS and saving lives.
“Please follow the Government’s important advice and rules around staying at home, working from home if possible, maintaining social distancing and good hygiene.”
Sheila Oxtoby, chief executive, said: “This is an incredible effort and it’s definitely not business as usual at the council.
“We ask for public patience and understanding, as some of our normal services will need to stop or be different for a while as we focus on essential services: those that are needed to support communities, maintain public health and safety, and save lives.”
Earlier, the council confirmed it was postpoining garden waste collection services for four weeks.
It has also said that the collection of large waste items will be postponed for a month, but that collections booked before March 26 will go ahead.
From Monday, residents should look out for a letter going to all Norfolk households with advice and relevant support numbers.
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