No one in Norfolk goes hungry

Image collage of people using community supermarkets

Affordable community food hubs are feeding Norfolk’s most vulnerable people, with help from Norfolk Community Foundation

Last week, Norfolk Community Foundation held a special event to launch their Nourishing Norfolk Network. Attended by community organisers, local businesses and distinguished individuals, the event drew attention to community responses to hunger across our county. Speaking at the launch, David Hill, Norfolk’s High Sheriff, who is backing the campaign, said: “Even before the pandemic an increasing number of people were facing poverty in Norfolk and that will grow even further. But we want to imagine a future where no one in Norfolk goes hungry.

Shocking figures from the University of Sheffield have revealed that an estimated 15,000 in Norfolk skip meals for a whole day or more each month because they cannot afford food. The Nourishing Norfolk initiative seeks to provide immediate relief to communities by creating places where people can shop locally on a budget with dignity. These ‘Food hubs’ go beyond filling shopping bags with affordable and nutritious food; they are also connecting people to support ranging from cooking and budgeting advice to help with fuel payments and debt management.

Watch a video of the event

Food insecurity in Norfok at a glance…

0 ,000
Norfolk people couldn’t afford to eat every day last month
Norfolk people couldn’t afford to eat every day last month
0 %
of people on Universal Credit are food insecure
of people on Universal Credit are food insecure
0 ,000
Norfolk people were forced to cut back on meals or seek help accessing food in the last month
Norfolk people were forced to cut back on meals or seek help accessing food in the last month
0 %
of NCF’s emergency Covid-19 funding was spent on food pop-ups
of NCF’s emergency Covid-19 funding was spent on food pop-ups
Maps showing the overlap between high food insecurity and deprivation

Data from the Joseph Rowntree Foundations shows that 20% of people in poverty have low food security, meaning they are unable to access enough varied, nutritious, and high-quality food. The maps above show just how close the link is between deprivation and food insecurity.

The Nourishing Norfolk initiative began in November 2020 as a single pilot store in Thetford’s Charles Burrell Centre, providing affordable food in one of Norfolk’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Since then, a further 5 affordable food hubs have opened:

  • The Breckland Mobile Food Store, stopping at 10+ locations weekly on its route in Breckland
  • The Burrell Store, serving the residents of the Charles Burrell Estate in Thetford
  • The Food Pantry Feltwell, serving Feltwell and its surrounding villages
  • The Shrublands Community Foodclub, serving people in Gorleston’s Shrublands Estate
  • Sally’s Store, serving people in Great Yarmouth
  • The Soul Foundation Social Supermarket, serving people living across Norwich

By the end of the year the Norfolk Community Foundation expects to see around 15 hubs supporting vulnerable people across the county.

Map of Nourishing Norfolk Hubs. Click the icons to find out more.

“Working with local authorities, charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and national organisations, we are taking decisive and rapid action to make sure no one in Norfolk goes hungry. Food poverty isn’t going to go away overnight, but by working together we can continue to address its underlying causes and support Norfolk’s most vulnerable people.”

Claire Cullens, CEO Norfolk Community Foundation
Andrew Forsey stands with his back to shelves of food in a social supermarket.

“The Norfolk Community Foundation has been the great driving force of all of the good work happening across the county through the creation of food clubs and community supermarkets. They’re a constant repository of great practice, good ideas, and all sorts of thoughts of where we can go next in this increasingly uphill task to try to prevent hunger and destitution across the county.”

Andrew Forsey, National Director of Feeding Britain
Graeme and Julie stand in front of a fully-stocked food club shelf
The Foundation’s Community Development Manager Graeme Tolley with Julie Woods, manager of the Shrublands Centre, at the opening of The Shrublands Food Club

What’s needed?

A number of food hubs are ready to go, but they urgently need funding to become a reality.

With £1 million, we could put into action phase 1 of this project, which would create:

  • 15 new food hubs, aiming to support 5,000 households across Norfolk.
  • A Norfolk Distribution Hub, where surplus and donated stock would be received before being distributed throughout the network of food hubs.
  • Employment and training opportunities where staff are needed to manage and coordinate the food hub.
  • Groundwork for Phase 2 of the project to begin to connect with other organisations.

How can I help?

We need Norfolk to help Norfolk. If you want to join this innovative project, please consider:

  • Making a donation. We need funds that match the scale of the issue. Please donate below.
  • Linking with support organisations. Does your company have expertise in food supply or production? Warehouses or distribution?
  • Get us connected. Can you connect us with others who could help?

If you can support us in any way, please get in touch with Graeme Tolley.


Will you make a donation to Nourishing Norfolk?


Published: 23/05/2022