Northampton food bank launches appeal after being given six weeks notice to leave Weston Favell Shopping Centre
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The food bank in Weston Favell Shopping Centre has launched an appeal after being given six weeks notice to leave its premises.
Having been located there since December 2018, the space will be offered to shops after the food bank has moved out – to meet the demands of the shopping centre’s growth, according to bosses who run the centre.
The food bank’s appeal is for a premises large enough to have everything under one roof – storage, packing and distribution – and for anyone who would be willing to offer their services to help them relocate.
Although the food bank expected this day to arrive as the space was only offered temporarily, Denise Kennedy, the manager, said: “The number of people in need is rising due to the cost of living crisis.
“We opened at 10am and there is a queue around the corner. During last week alone, 341 people visited us and we fed around 1,300 a month.
“We want to be able to continue supporting people in the eastern district, with permanent premises in this area.”
Denise says Weston Favell Shopping Centre has “really looked after” them and they will be “sad to go”.
The shopping centre says they will offer space to them again if it becomes available, but the food bank hopes to find somewhere permanent as they could be served notice again.
The food bank, supported by the Trussell Trust, and run as a partnership between Emmanuel Group of Churches, St Peter’s, and Storehouse Church, has supported Yuliya Mohylevets – a Ukrainian refugee who moved to the UK with her eight-year-old daughter in April.
When Yuliya was left with nowhere to go, Citizens Advice pointed her in the direction of the food bank and she said: “From the moment I arrived, they were so kind to me and all my emotions came out.
“They understood and I felt comfortable opening up.”
Within a week of attending the food bank, she and her daughter moved in with a new sponsor in Weston Favell and her daughter joined the local primary school.
Yuliya began volunteering at the food bank to develop her English and she said: “The food bank isn’t just about food.
“They built my confidence and since I went, everything is going so well.”
Following the advice she was given to adapt to her new life, Yuliya is starting as a teaching assistant in September.
Responding to the situation, Kevin Legg, Weston Favell’s centre manager said: “We have always had a big part to play in supporting the local community.
“In the food bank’s current location, what was envisaged to be just a few months turned into nearly four years – and we are extremely proud to have supported and made this space available to them.”
However, he said as “the shopping centre continues to progress, the clamour for retail space is growing”.
Kevin said: “New businesses give more choice and value on customer’s doorsteps, as well as employment opportunities, and will add to the vibrancy and vitality of the centre and local community, as retailers look to establish or upsize at Weston Favell.”
Anyone looking to support the food bank’s appeal should contact Denise Kennedy on 07513034256.