The Kickstart teamThe Kickstart team

A new mobile food store is launching to serve the rural communities of Breckland.

The service will provide a way to shop for healthy, nutritious food and store cupboard staples at a reduced price, to help residents tackle increasing living costs or difficulties getting to other shops due to isolation. Friendly expert staff on the bus are trained to offer wider support such as advice on debt management, isolation & loneliness and mental health, and will signpost customers to a range of services that can offer further help, where needed.

Informed by data, the bus will begin its route in early May, stopping in Swanton Morley, Bawdeswell, Shipdham, Carbrooke, Saham Toney, Ashill, Necton, Narborough, Weeting and East Harling.

The timetable for the food bus can be found on the Breckland Mobile Food Store social media page

The Breckland Mobile Food Store is funded by Breckland Council and Norfolk Community Foundation and run by local charity Kickstart Norfolk. This joint project forms part of Norfolk Community Foundation’s Nourishing Norfolk Network, helping to establish a number of food hubs across the county, including the Breckland Mobile Food Store, to fight food insecurity. Breckland Council funded this project as part of their commitment to the prevention of vulnerability through early intervention – as outlined within the vision of their £1m Inspiring Communities programme: “Inspiring our communities to enhance the lives of Breckland residents through strategic partnerships; early intervention and community funding” – recognising that early intervention is vital in preventing issues, such as food poverty and social isolation, from escalating and reaching crisis point.

Cllr. Sam Chapman-Allen and Julie from Kickstart

Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, the leader of Breckland Council, said: “This innovative project is a great example of how our partnership working can benefit our communities. Following the extraordinary success of the Charles Burrell Community Shop in Thetford, I’m delighted that we can launch this mobile store that will provide a similar service to more rural, isolated, communities. I’d like to thank the Breckland businesses who have embraced this plan and offered it their support – some businesses have even made a commitment to donate goods to the mobile food store, which is a great demonstration of Breckland community spirit. I’d particularly like to thank Poultec Training Ltd, who made a significant donation to the project and made the purchase of a suitable vehicle possible.”

Cllr Alison Webb, Breckland Council’s Executive Member for Housing, Health and Communities, said: “Our Inspiring Communities programme incorporates a variety of projects but what they all have in common is the very real difference they make to our residents. This latest project, the Breckland Mobile Food Store, will not only help people access healthy and affordable food, but will provide access to a wide range of services that help to tackle issues such as isolation and loneliness and mental health. If you’re struggling to eat well because of the rising cost of living, or are struggling to travel to the shop, please do see if the mobile store can assist you. We’re bringing this service to the places where it’s needed, and we hope people will make use of it – not just to buy food, but to get advice and guidance from the expert staff.”

Claire Cullens, Norfolk Community Foundation’s Chief Executive, said: “The Norfolk Community Foundation’s Nourishing Norfolk programme works to a future where no one in Norfolk goes hungry. Over the last year we have opened 5 food hubs with a plan to open a further 10 by the end of this year. The Breckland Mobile Food Store is the first hub that is able to travel to where communities need it most across Breckland. As with the Burrell store we hope that what we have started in Breckland we are able to replicate across Norfolk.

“Successful community projects like the Breckland mobile store work because of great partnership and a shared commitment to make a difference. We are enormously proud of our partnership with Breckland District Council, our many local funders, Norfolk County Council, Feeding Britain, and of course Kickstart Norfolk who are very much in the driving seat of this initiative.”

Matthew Page, Partnership Manager at Kickstart Norfolk, said: “As a charity, Kickstart Norfolk are delighted to be managing and running the Breckland Mobile Food Store on behalf of Breckland Council and Norfolk Community Foundation. With the ever-increasing cost of living placing pressure on household budgets, our friendly, experienced staff are looking forward to providing residents of Breckland with a service that can provide them with healthy, nutritional food at an affordable cost, and assist them to address and tackle any issues they may have.

Claire Cullens, Chief Executive of Norfolk Community Foundation, Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Andrew Forsey of Feeding Britain, Lauren a Morrison’s Community Champion

To use the Breckland Mobile Food Store residents will need to become a member. Membership requires a one-off payment of £3 per household and will be valid for the duration of the service. Membership applications can be completed on a first visit to the bus.