High street store pledges support to charity amid cost of living

First Focus managers Clarissa Belson (left) and Pauline Hicks (right) with Fakenham's Orginal Factory Shop manager

First Focus managers Clarissa Belson (left) and Pauline Hicks (right) with Fakenham's Orginal Factory Shop manager, Matthew Browne - Credit: Aaron McMillan

A major high street store has vowed to support a community charity for another year amid the cost of living crisis.

The Original Factory Shop in Fakenham is continuing to support community charity First Focus for another year, as it looks to directly support people in the town struggling with rising bills as they feel the effects from the cost of living.

Matthew Brown, the shop’s manager, said they are doing a range of fundraising and support work, from selling second-hand books, fundraising on the tills, and setting up a food collection point to help the charity’s community fridge.

Fakenham's Orginal Factory Shop have set up a donation point for First Focus' community fridge 

Fakenham's Orginal Factory Shop have set up a donation point for First Focus' community fridge - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The shop donated £234.87 to First Focus on May 19.

“We feel that First Focus is so important to the local community, that is why we will continue to support them, even more, this year,” Mr Brown said.

“What they do as a service, particularly with the cost of living crisis going on, it's so vital for the town.”

Fakenham's Orginal Factory Shop have set up a donation point for First Focus' community fridge 

Fakenham's Orginal Factory Shop have set up a donation point for First Focus' community fridge - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Clarissa Belson and Pauline Hicks, the charity's managers, collected the cheque, saying they were seeing more people using its services, including a lot of new faces taking advantage of the charity’s food parcels and advice.

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“We are seeing a real rise in footfall and a lot of faces”, Mrs Belson said.

“We are seeing a huge demand for the need for food parcels, as well as people asking for financial advice, and helping with benefit forms, anything that can help people ease the stress.”

“We are also worried, as this might not be as bad as it gets, with most people’s heating being off at the moment, what happens when it goes back on is a real worry.

“People are going to struggle to heat their homes, and feed their kids - this could be the calm before the storm.”

The pair also said they are seeing a reduction in the number of food donations coming into them, but they expected it, with people tightening their belts.

Miss Hicks thanked supermarkets in the town for stepping up their support for the community fridge and food parcels they make up.

They said the money will continue to support the work which they undertake.