Shrublands Community Foodclub Launched

Julie and Mayoress Jenny Thompson stand in front of shelves in the Shrublands Food Club

Another community food hub opens with help from the Norfolk Community Foundation.

The Shrublands Community Foodclub, based in Gorleston, joins The Burrell Shop and the Food Pantry Feltwell as the latest addition to Norfolk Community Foundation’s Nourishing Norfolk Network. The Foodclub is a joint venture between the Shrublands Youth and Adult Centre Charitable TrustGreat Yarmouth Borough Council and Norfolk Community Foundation. Its primary purpose is to provide affordable food to people living in Gorleston.

The Club was officially opened on the 10th December 2021 by Great Yarmouth’s Mayor Adrian Thompson. While Mayor Thompson praised the remarkable work of Food Banks in the area, he highlighted the Foodclub’s ability to give “people more control over the food they can get for their family, putting them in charge of their own budgeting and planning.” This comes at a time where a new report has revealed that the poorest families are £110 worse off than they were in 2019. The Club operates in a way very similar to a shop, providing dignity and choice in a wide selection of food and household items, including fruit and veg, chilled and tinned items, whilst providing significant savings for its members.

Graeme from the Foundation speaks with the Mayor (in formal dress) and Mayoress
Norfolk Community Foundation’s Graeme Tolley speaks to Great Yarmouth’s Mayor about Shrublands Foodclub
A woman bends down to inspect produce on a shelf
A Member uses the Shrublands Foodclub

Mayor Thompson said this was especially important for young people, as they need “the right food to grow up healthy, support their education and build good habits that set them up for life.” The Club is also offering a ‘taste of the month’, to encourage people less confident with preparing meals from scratch to have wholesome meals at home. This is just one way that food hubs offer value to their members.

The Club, based at an existing community centre, and is nestled between a children’s centre, a nursery and a primary school. This centralised location has not only allowed the Club to quickly build its membership (40 families are signed up already) but has also offered the opportunity to link in with other nearby services. Experiences from the Nourishing Norfolk Network have shown that people who experience food insecurity often also face additional difficulties such as fuel poverty, income insecurity or other issues that could be addressed through neighbouring services. Local charities such as DIAL are also closely tied to the centre, giving excellent opportunities to refer vulnerable people to services that can benefit them. As Manager Julie Woods said: “Our centre has become the place to turn if you live in Gorleston and need help and support.”

The Nourishing Norfolk Network’s latest member highlights the benefits of using food hubs to provide centralised support within communities. With assistance from the network, the Shrublands Community Foodclub has been able to start operating swiftly through the provision of mutual support, resources and advice. The Norfolk Community Foundation is working with an ever-growing network of community food hubs, food pantries, buses, clubs and supermarkets – and everything in between! If you are providing food for your community and would like to know more about the Nourishing Norfolk Network and how it could benefit your organisation, please get in touch with Graeme Tolley.

Graeme and Julie stand in front of a fully-stocked food club shelf
Manager Julie Woods with Graeme Tolley from the Foundation