'No one should have to go hungry' - First Focus pledges support

The manager of First Focus, Clarissa Belson.

The manager of First Focus, Clarissa Belson. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

A community charity is seeing an increase in people using its services as the cost of living continues to soar.

The rise reveals the enormous pressures facing households even before major increases to energy bills kick in this April.

Some of the food on offer at the community fridge at First focus in Fakenham. 

Some of the food on offer at the community fridge at First focus in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

First Focus, based in Oak Street, Fakenham, has promised the service would be there for people in need and encouraged others to come forward if they needed help. 

Clarissa Belson, the charity's manager, said they had seen a slight rise across all their services, from mental health support to food banks and form filling, since January.

She added the charity was expecting to see an increase in people coming to the centre.

The food on offer at the community fridge at First Focus in Fakenham.

The food on offer at the community fridge at First Focus in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

"No one should have to go hungry," she said.

“People are proud and do not want to ask for help, but we want to get rid of that stigma, everyone needs helps at some time.

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“If people do not want to come in and collect a food parcel, because they feel embarrassed, we can deliver locally, we have done that before.

First Focus' centre on Oak Street in Fakenham.

First Focus' centre on Oak Street in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“We have got to the people who do need that help, we see them regularly, and there people out there who have that pride and do not know how to ask for it, its trying to get rid of that stigma.

“If it is a choice between heating or eating, there are food banks and the community fridge. We will do what we can to help take any of the pressure away."

First Focus, which has just announced it will remain open until March 2023, can be found at 21 Oak St, Fakenham NR21 9DY. It can be reached by phone on 01328 855083, or by sending a message via its Facebook page.

The charity’s increase in demand comes as more people are seeking support from Citizens Advice. Figures revealed earlier this month showed that in January more than 270,000 people sought one-to-one advice from them.

The Citizens Advice Bureau is open for appointments every Thursday from 10am to 3pm at the Community Centre on Oak Street. They can also be contacted by phone 0800 144 8848.