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Councillors raise more than £5k for foodbanks in 365km walking challenge

PUBLISHED: 14:29 02 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:20 03 June 2020

Emma Corlett, Norwich Labour Councillor, toasting to her fellow challengers at the end of the ten-day stint. Photo: Emma Corlett

Emma Corlett, Norwich Labour Councillor, toasting to her fellow challengers at the end of the ten-day stint. Photo: Emma Corlett

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County and district councillors have raised almost £6k for ongoing foodbank costs after completing their 365km challenge in record-breaking heat.

Labour councillor Mike Smith-Clare lifting a toast to his team-mates. Photo: Mike Smith-ClareLabour councillor Mike Smith-Clare lifting a toast to his team-mates. Photo: Mike Smith-Clare

Ten Labour councillors set out to clock up 3.6k every day for ten days between May 22 and 31 by whichever means possible - walking, running, rowing and even crawling.

The money raised will go towards their ‘Food Out Friday’ initiative, which involves buying up supplies for Norfolk foodbanks and distributing them across community hubs.

A total of 397km was covered, and £5,770 raised.

Mike Smith-Clare, councillor for Great Yarmouth, said the challenge was made even harder by the lovely weather.

Terry Jermy, Breckland Labour councillor, enjoying a well-earned drink at the end of the 365km challenge. Photo: Terry JermyTerry Jermy, Breckland Labour councillor, enjoying a well-earned drink at the end of the 365km challenge. Photo: Terry Jermy

“It was definitely a struggle clocking up our daily mileage and was sometimes uncomfortable given the unusually hot weather.

“At least I was able to go out for a run around Great Yarmouth, but some of the challengers, like Colleen, who has COPD, had to lap their garden constantly for ten days straight”, he said.

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“It was a brilliant effort all round. Not only did we reach our target, but we’ve highlighted the shocking rise in food bank use resulting not just from coronavirus but years of debilitating austerity.”

Colleen Walker, Great Yarmouth councillor and former mayor. Photo: Colleen WalkerColleen Walker, Great Yarmouth councillor and former mayor. Photo: Colleen Walker

Colleen Walker, councillor for Great Yarmouth and former mayor, said: “If this pandemic has taught me anything it’s about how much communities can come together at times like this.

“Let us remember the virus may go away but foodbanks will still be a massive part of our everyday lives.”

Meanwhile for Emma Corlett, Norwich City councillor, the difficulties of walking and running 3.6km each day was “nothing compared to the challenge faced by vast numbers of people across Norfolk experiencing food poverty”.

Breckland councillor Terry Jermy also stressed that the challengers were “very grateful to everyone that has donated and supported the cause” - assuring donors that “the money will be put to good use supporting the county’s foodbank network”.

Mike Smith-Clare, Great Yarmouth Labour and County Councillor, celebrating the end of the 365km challenge. Photo: Mike Smith-ClareMike Smith-Clare, Great Yarmouth Labour and County Councillor, celebrating the end of the 365km challenge. Photo: Mike Smith-Clare

According to Mr Smith-Clare, the ‘Food Out Friday’ scheme - initially a response to the coronavirus pandemic and the struggles families were facing in sourcing food supplies - now has its place beyond lockdown.

He said: “People experience hunger all year round and hopefully the money raised can go towards food vouchers for those families to make their lives a bit easier.”

You can donate to the cause through this link.


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