Hethersett hero Anne on mission to close food poverty gap

Anne Larner, from Hethersett, near Norwich, has been working with Food and Beverage Buggies.

Anne Larner, from Hethersett, near Norwich, has been working with Food and Beverage Buggies (FABB) to support hostels and families in need. - Credit: Peter Steward

A Norfolk-based charity has found itself blossoming during lockdown, helping more and more people of all ages.

Food and Beverage Buggies has lived up to its FABB name in providing food and other goods to an ever-widening group of those in need.

FABB currently has about 20 volunteers including Hethersett resident Anne Larner who said that she has been concerned and surprised at the levels of food poverty in local communities.

FABB was founded two and a half years ago by Carol McWhinnie to provide hot meals, drinks and sandwiches to the homeless of Norwich on Thursday evenings, delivering it along the streets of the city in buggies rather than expecting recipients to queue for it.

But the charity’s role has changed considerably since lockdown with less living on the streets and FABB now feeding into hostels and other temporary accommodation where many homeless people have been placed by Norwich City Council. Mrs Larner has taken this a step further, supplying three local schools in addition to directly supporting individual families, many of whom she has got to know personally.

Anne Larner, from Hethersett, near Norwich, has been working with Food and Beverage Buggies.

Anne Larner, from Hethersett, near Norwich, has been working with Food and Beverage Buggies (FABB) to support hostels and families in need. - Credit: Peter Steward

FABB has been working with a variety of stores including Morrisons, Waitrose, Tesco’s, Lidl, Marks and Spencer and Gregg’s, which provide mountains of food for the charity.

“I think food poverty has been much worse than we expected, and we don’t see it ending any time soon. It may well get worse before it gets better. We have certainly become more aware of it since COVID struck,” Mrs Larner said adding that FABB is continually re-assessing where its work is needed.

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“I am sure our work with hostels and individual families will continue,” Mrs Larner said, adding that she is now spending up to 15 hours a week supporting the charity.

She admits that she gets “tremendous personal satisfaction” from helping others: “It gives me the chance to use my time beneficially and not just sit around waiting for lockdown to end. I wanted to do something to help people in our communities,” she said.

She also provides items for local people from outside her Hethersett home with donations helping to provide even more goods for the charity.

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