Speaker sets up walk to support Hackney Foodbank after demand surges

The Speaker of Hackney, Cllr Kam Adams. 

The Speaker of Hackney, Cllr Kam Adams. - Credit: Nick David

A virtual 5km walk has been set up to raise money for Hackney Foodbank after demand for the service more than doubled last year. 

The food bank's chair of trustees, Sue Bell, reported a "pronounced increase" in users who had never visited a food bank before and she expects the number of people reliant on the charity will keep growing in 2021.

Demand has increased from 8,106 people in 2019 to over 19,400 in 2020.

However, pressure on the service has also meant increased support from the community it serves. 

Sue said: “It has been quite humbling to see the efforts of our local community come together to help us provide people with a way out of food poverty.

"Let's keep the momentum going."

She encourages residents to join a virtual 5km challenge launched by Hackney speaker Cllr Kam Adams and sponsored by Daiwa Capital Markets Europe.

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Hackney people who sign up will receive a free t-shirt which they can wear while completing the walk from May 10 to 17.

Cllr Adams, who chose Hackney Foodbank as his charity of the year, said: “Hackney Foodbank has been providing incredible support for local people in crisis.

"The team’s dedication to helping people has been especially crucial during the pandemic, with volunteers having to adapt and cope with high levels of demand."

The food bank provides three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred.

The speaker added: “Please join me in taking on this 5km challenge in a location in Hackney of your choice.

"Although not together physically, we can still collectively make a difference by raising as much money as possible for Hackney Foodbank so that no one in our community has to go hungry during these challenging times.”

According to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown, residents are expected to be allowed to meet outside from March 29, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”.

Those taking part are asked to stick to the government guidelines when taking part in the event. 

Participating residents can email speaker@hackney.gov.uk with details of how many people are taking part. The deadline for expressing interest is March 19.

To support Hackney Foodbank, visit uk.gofundme.com

Participants can share images of their walks around the borough using the hashtag #HackneyFoodbank5k.