Suffolk’s High Sheriff has issued a clarion call for more organisations to pledge to support a vital £100,000 fundraising campaign for Ipswich food bank charity Families in Need (FIND).
A number of businesses and schools have already signed up to the FIND 50 Lifeline Appeal to raise £100,000 to allow FIND to move into new, larger headquarters amid soaring demand for its services – with more than 5,000 food parcels sent out every year.
Over £25,000 has been raised since the campaign launched in March but more businesses, individuals, schools and other organisations are needed to sign up and pledge to each raise £2,000.
Suffolk’s High Sheriff George Vestey is the latest supporter to throw his weight behind the campaign, which has been backed by the Ipswich Star, East Anglian Daily Times, and BBC Radio Suffolk.
Mr Vestey, who visited the food bank in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, on 7 September, said: “Life is very tough for many people in our communities and, in most cases, these are perfectly normal people with normal lives, but suddenly money runs short and they need a helping hand. This is where FIND plays such an important role. It takes, so often, a wonderfully inspirational person like Maureen (Reynel MBE, FIND founder) to lead an organisation and it’s been fantastic to see the absolute hub of activity with so many volunteers working so hard.
“The FIND 50 appeal is on track. They are getting support from employers but they need more. So this is a call to arms for more local employers to come and support FIND with financial donations and other forms of help such as volunteering. So employers – open your cheque books. This is a great opportunity to give back to your community.”
Mr Vestey also awarded the High Sheriff’s Certificate of Recognition – an official recognition of appreciation – to FIND during his visit.
Ipswich Borough Council has identified one of its sites for FIND and planning approval has already been granted. It is hoped that work can start on converting the site in the next few months and many local building firms have already stepped up to give free consultancy or other services, including Castons, Barnes Construction, MLM Group, JSH Consulting and Hoopers Architects.
Employers and groups which are already part of FIND 50 include Ipswich & East Rotary, Ipswich School, Ipswich Building Society, Ellisons, East of England Co-op, PLC Business, Round Table Ipswich, Kingsfleet Wealth, Adsar Technology, Attwells Solicitors, Colchester Road Baptist Church, University of Suffolk and Kesgrave High School.
Genesis PR has been running the FIND 50 campaign and is giving its services pro-bono to the charity for the second year. A new website and film have been created by the agency to help with the fundraising. The team are also taking part in a number of fundraising activities.
Maureen Reynel MBE, founder and Board Chair of FIND, said: “We are hugely grateful for every donation and all the support we have received so far. We hope that more companies, schools and groups will come forward to help us reach our £100,000 target so we can continue providing support to individuals and families in desperate need.”