Charity believes pandemic reflection behind increased donations

a man inside the Salvation Army Hall on Oak Street in Fakenham

Adrian Allen, Salvation Army’s corps officer for Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

A charity believes the pandemic has given people the chance to reflect more on their community and led to an increase in donations.

Adrian Allen, Salvation Army’s corps officer for Fakenham, saw a 70pc increase in generosity for their toys and tins appeal, as well as an increase in donations to the Mid-Norfolk food bank, which they offer their hall on Oak Street for.

Mr Allen believes Fakenham has looked inwards to see what support they can offer on their doorstep.

A sign for West Norfolk foodbank

The Mid-Norfolk foodbank at Salvation Army’s Hall on Oak Street in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“I think people have seen the need more than in the past,” he said.

“It's not that they were blind to it, but because they were busy with other things.

“I think this pandemic has given us time to stop, take stock and reflect on what's going on in our own lives and in the lives around us and act in a way that we would want people to treat us.

“I can imagine that the need will still be there once the restrictions have been relaxed, the need was there before coronavirus, and the need will be thereafter.

“Maybe even more because of the impact, it's had on families and communities in this area.”

A man outside the Salvation Army's Charity Shop on Oak Street in Fakenham.

Adrian Allen, Salvation Army’s corps officer for Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

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The hall, which is open for two hours on a Monday and Thursday for the foodbank, is the only thing they are currently hosting, with shops and services such as their coffee morning stopped with restrictions in place.

Mr Allen is looking forward to opening back up once measures on social distancing drop, which is hoped for June if the roadmap is kept to. 

He hopes he can then talk to the community to see what their needs are. However, he fears there might be a different sort of pandemic to deal with.

Food boxes in the oak street hall

Mid-Norfolk sorting out food donations at the Salvation Army’s hall in Fakenham. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“There will be another pandemic afterwards of loneliness and isolation,” he said.

“For us, we need to provide opportunities for people to come and be together. I think that this is something that's been endemic in the last 20/30 years, you've seen groups that have just reduced because people meeting other people in organised settings as we have here at the Salvation Army has reduced.

“I think this pandemic shows that we need to have those opportunities to come together and to be.”