Charity vows to be there despite uncertain future

First Focus Project Manager, Clarissa Belson. Picture: Aaron McMillan

First Focus Project Manager, Clarissa Belson. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

Despite only having the funds to last until September, a Fakenham-based charity is focused on supporting people through lockdown.

First Focus in the market town warned back in July they could have to shut its doors as its lottery funding runs out in September.

The charity, which has helped thousands of people in the Fakenham area over the last 18 years, has especially stepped up to support the community during the first two lockdowns, choosing not to be furloughed as it wanted to support their service users.

Now with the third lockdown in effect, they are only opening for two hours a week, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to allow people to access their community fridge.

At its centre on Oak Street, First Focus provides a friendly meeting place and activity centre. Pict

At its centre on Oak Street, First Focus provides a friendly meeting place and activity centre. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

Project manager Clarissa Belson said that despite the uncertainty, there are more immediate issues to tackle.

“I do this job to make sure people are okay and they aren't alone, I want people to know we are there,” she said.


You may also want to watch:


"At the moment the immediate issues are more pressing.

"I am worried about the future and it is on my mind but the immediate problems are the lockdown and dealing with it, and supporting people is more important.

Most Read

“You can still access us even if you can’t see us. We might be shut but we are still here, we are not going away."

At its centre on Oak Street, First Focus provides a friendly meeting place and activity centre. Pict

Pictured back in July at its centre on Oak Street, First Focus provides a friendly meeting place and activity centre. - Credit: Archant

Mrs Belson said they would continue supporting people in a range of ways, including collecting people’s shopping and prescriptions, making well-being phone calls and checking on people’s mental health.

However, these extra jobs mean there is less time for her to look through securing their future as time which she would use is now being taken up by supporting others.

She hopes in a few months time there will be time to make sure First Focus will be there.

“Things are changing all the time and having to adapt to it takes your mind off the money and admin side,” she said.

“It has turned into more of a practical job, the hour I spend shopping I would normally be chasing things up.

“I'm hoping in two or three months time we can get this sorted, but we just don't know.”

First Focus Project Manager, Clarissa Belson and Member of Parliament for the constituency of Broadl

First Focus Project Manager, Clarissa Belson met with Member of Parliament for the constituency of Broadland, Jerome Mayhew back in July. - Credit: Archant


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter