Today Your Local Paper is launching a new appeal to help West Norfolk people in desperate need this winter.
We are asking readers to join us in supporting both the King’s Lynn Foodbank and King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter by digging deep and donating goods.
As well as the every day groceries and toiletries much-needed in the community, the Winter Appeal is for festive foods and items such as Lego to spread some seasonal cheer.
Figures show that increasing numbers of people are using the food bank and Lynn is statistically one of the country’s worst towns for homelessness.
Your Local Paper managing director Alan Taylor said: “We are delighted to support two much-needed local charities – one being the Mayor’s chosen charity King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter – and, of course, King’s Lynn Foodbank which we supported last year.
“It is horrific to contemplate people not having a bed over Christmas or not being able to put food on the table.
“I hope that, along with our readers, we can help in some way to right this wrong.”
Donations can be brought into the YLP offices at 29 King Street in Lynn, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
The food bank’s wish list includes basic food items – tinned fruit and vegetables, tinned meat and fish, instant coffee and tea bags – as well as festive items like Christmas crackers, stuffing mix, custard, chocolates, sweets and biscuits.
Toiletries including shower gel, toothbrushes, toothpaste and shampoo are also needed.
The night shelter which is also open on Christmas day, would appreciate donations of fresh fruit, sliced bread, Lego to keep guests occupied in the evenings and financial contributions to help with running costs.
Staff also hope to have a real Christmas tree.
Our appeal will continue to collect basic food and toiletry items into the New Year, but festive goods need to be brought in by December 14.
West Norfolk Mayor Nick Daubney said: “I would like to thank Your Local Paper for heading this initiative. There is an enormous need for these charities, particularly during the winter months.
“The winter night shelter helps people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets of Lynn. It provides a safe and welcoming place for people to stay.
“This is a great initiative and I would urge people to help in any way they can.”
In the last financial year the food bank gave out 4,410 emergency three-day food parcels.
Food bank co-ordinator Maarten Klem said: “This is our busiest time of the year.
“Last year we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the community and we are so grateful that people are willing to support us.
“We are very appreciative of the community’s support – together we can make a difference.”
King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter was set up last year when it opened two nights a week from December until March.
Due to its success and to meet demand, this year the shelter opened its doors on November 1 and will open seven nights a week until March.
The night shelter offers a bed and a hot meal to those who need it and is open from 7pm to 9.30am.
Last winter the recorded number of street homeless in the town was 42, making it the sixth worst town in the country for the number of rough sleepers as a percentage of the town’s population.
Night shelter co-ordinator Lucy McKitterick said guests enjoyed playing dominoes, cards and games and particularly liked to build Lego.
The charity would appreciate financial donations as it needs to raise £50,000 by March next year to cover running costs, including rent, laundry and heating costs.
Cheques can be made payable to King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter or go to www.klwns.org.uk for details of how to donate online.
Night shelter co-ordinator Lucy McKitterick said: “Keeping a big home warm and clean and ready for 20 people to stay each night with clean sheets is costly.
“Our guests have been incredibly appreciative. They enjoy the building, the company, the meals, having a bed for the night. It has a nice feel – we are coming together as a family.”
More volunteers are needed for a variety of roles at the night shelter. An information evening will be held at South Lynn Baptist Church on Wednesday at 7pm.