Take a look inside the warehouse that will feed Ipswich's hungry families
PUBLISHED: 13:49 29 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:44 29 October 2019
Work on Ipswich's new foodbank is complete and organisers have thanked donors for taking them one step closer to being able to feed thousands of hungry adults and children.
The new centre has been built by Families in Need's (FIND), in Braziers Wood Road, transforming derelict changing rooms at Gainsborough Sports and Community Centre into a spacious, fit-for-purpose foodbank.
Maureen Reynel, founder of FIND, thanked donors and contractors during a 'first look' event to commemorate the completion of the facilities.
Mrs Reynel said: "It was quite surreal to see everyone here to celebrate the foodbank's completion.
"It's been a really tough journey with ups and downs.
"These facilities are a massive upgrade and provide security. Everywhere FIND has been located has been on a temporary basis, but here we have a 15-year lease.
"Many people will see this building and think it's a warehouse - but it's a warehouse with a difference and a heart."
Volunteers from FIND will move into the new facilities on November 11.
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Mrs Reynel, who founded the charity more than 20 years ago, said the overall cost of running the new foodbank could reach £400,000.
She added: "Last year we gave out over 5,000 food parcels - and that figure has gone up again."
John Button, of contractors Castons, said: "This has been an amazing journey and unique project in many ways.
"It was a project that we were desperate to be involved in.
"Seeing this place be transformed into this fabulous facility has really secured the future of FIND.
"It gives Maureen the platform she needs to go forward and provide the service that is so badly needed."
Councillors for Priory Heath ward also spoke of their delight as the new foodbank was completed.
Former mayor of Ipswich and current councillor Bill Quinton said: "This foodbank is wonderful and a credit to all involved.
"I would like to say thank you on behalf of everyone who will benefit from the foodbank,"
Sarah Barber, who has also served as mayor of Ipswich, said: "I'm really happy FIND have a new home - this is a really big upgrade on their previous facilities."