From baubles to breakfast - how village raised 'amazing sum' for new food hub

Steven Sivyer at Martham Foodbank

Rev Steven Sivyer with some of the donations which are helping to feed 44 households across the northern parishes from Caister to Thurne. - Credit: Steven Sivyer

With many of the usual Christmas events cancelled by Covid one Norfolk company found a festive way to help a new charity to balance the books.

And while most of us have packed away our decorations and baubles the ones put up on a village Christmas tree are still helping to deliver emergency food for residents, just when they need it most.

Steve Ashton, director of Martham signage company SSAF, has presented Rev Dr Steven Sivyer with a £2,000 cheque for the village food bank after more than 60 companies and individuals had their names and logos printed on baubles adorning the company's giant Christmas tree.

Martham bauble campaign

Steve Ashton of SSAF and Rev Dr Steven Sivyer being presented with cheque for £2,000 raised by a Christmas bauble appeal, staged at a time when many traditional fundraising fairs and events had to be scrapped. - Credit: SSAF Window Films

The fundraising idea was inspired by the Make Martham Sparkle appeal that saw the village come together to battle the coronavirus blues with twinkly lights and glowing Santas.

“It’s been the hardest time we’ve ever known and to achieve this now is absolutely amazing.

"Even businesses that have been unable to open have come forward and helped,” Mr Ashton said.

“I’ve been amazed by the generosity of all our customers, friends, and the local community.

"We had anticipated perhaps raising £500 for Martham Foodbank, so to raise £2,000 is a great achievement.” 

Bauble fundraiser tree

Some 60 baubles were sponsored raising £2,000 for Martham Foodbank thanks to SSAF Window Films who launched the fundraising initiative. - Credit: James Bensly

The foodbank was started last year when Rev Steven, the priest-in-charge of Martham, Repps, Thurne, and Clippesby, was alerted to the fact that there were people in the northern villages who could not get to the nearest foodbank in Great Yarmouth.

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He said: "Just as the foodbank launched, the pandemic hit.

"We weren’t able to spread the word with leaflets in the way we normally would so this fundraising campaign from SSAF has raised awareness of the foodbank as well as given vital funds.

"Our mission is that no-one here will be going hungry."

The foodbank now serves the wider Flegg area but desperately needs a permanent base.

Currently it feeds 44  households, but with few large supermarkets in its catchment struggles for donations.

Rev Steven said demand grew in the second half of December and had been rising ever since.

Anyone wanting  to make a donation, serve as a drop off point, or offer a premises can call 01493 740823.