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Shops converted into emergency resource centres to help feed hundreds in coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 16:36 14 April 2020

Graham Denny says the charity has helped hundreds of people in and around Felixstowe Picture: THE BASIC LIFE CHARITY

Graham Denny says the charity has helped hundreds of people in and around Felixstowe Picture: THE BASIC LIFE CHARITY

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Two Felixstowe charity shops forced to close during the coronavirus lockdown are now helping to feed hundreds of people - after being turned into emergency resource centres.

Elliott, Sarah and Becky - some of the Basic Life staff helping to bring food to those in need Picture: THE BASIC LIFE CHARITYElliott, Sarah and Becky - some of the Basic Life staff helping to bring food to those in need Picture: THE BASIC LIFE CHARITY

The Basic Life Charity has worked for 20 years to help people in Felixstowe and Walton get the food they need, with its well-known pop up shops attracting attention as far afield as Westminster.

“We have done all sorts of projects, including on period poverty, and we pay for breakfasts for kids at local schools,” said founder Graham Denny.

“With this pandemic, we needed to do something.”

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The charity usually runs two shops, one in Felixstowe and the other in Walton.

However when it was clear the lockdown was imminent, it decided to close them and turn them into emergency resource centres.

The centres are now hubs for people who struggling to get food, with all services being offered for free.

Those who are able to pick up food can have their orders prepared in store by staff, who then arrange a time for collection.

Shortly before the customers arrive the order is placed outside, meaning that no physical contact need take place.

For those who are less mobile, it also offers deliveries.

Other free items, including some food and sanitary items, are also being put out for people to take from the charity’s Walton shop.

“We have helped hundreds, I could not put a number on it,” said Mr Denny.

Basic Life works with a number of suppliers to ensure they can continue to feed people - including supermarkets and the charity Fareshare, which they are subscribed to.

Mr Denny and his team have been moved by the desperate state some families have been left in during the pandemic.

“Everyone has been feeling tearful at times,” said Mr Denny.

“Some people are contacting us in a troubled state.”

Once the pandemic is over, Mr Denny says helping the community will continue to be the priority for the charity.

“We are continuing what we have done for 20 years,” said Mr Denny.

“It’s a real honour to do it.”

The charity are unable to take on more volunteers at this time, anyone wishing to help can donate via its website.

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READ MORE: 21 suspected and two confirmed coronavirus cases at Ipswich care home


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