‘I always wanted to help others’ - Foodbank leader Angela Gregg on giving back to the community

Angela Gregg Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Angela Gregg Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: RACHEL EDGE

It is said that helping others helps you, perhaps no-one in Suffolk embodies that philosophy more than Angela Gregg.

Angela Gregg and her colleague Neil Bevis from Hadleigh Foodbank Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Angela Gregg and her colleague Neil Bevis from Hadleigh Foodbank Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

It is said that helping others helps you, perhaps no-one in Suffolk embodies that philosophy more than Angela Gregg.

For the past year Angela Gregg from Hadleigh has been spending her time helping those less fortunate than herself in the town.

Ms Gregg is one of the co-founders of Hadleigh Foodbank,which helps people living in the town and surrounding villages to get the supplies they so desperately need.

Demand for its services increased by some 300% during the coronavirus pandemic with the foodbank turning to delivering food packages by bike to those hardest hit in their community.

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However, the foodbank isn’t just about getting groceries out to those in need.

In Hadleigh, volunteers go above and beyond to provide all sorts of services to help their community.

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“Basically we have a strapline now - “it’s not just a foodbank”,” admits Ms Gregg.

Last month the foodbank expanded its services to include offering bikes for locals and tourists to hire out.

They are also recycling old laptops and computers to help those in need; particularly older people who they are then able to help stay in touch with distant relatives via platforms such as Skype.

With so much going on for Angela, her colleague Neil Bevis and the 15 volunteers who make up the foodbank; what is it that motivates the team to keep going.

“I have always worked to help other people,” said Ms Gregg.

“I cannot work full time but I wanted to give back.

“I have always been one to work to help others rather than myself.

“I’m just somebody that wants to help others.”

In more recent years Ms Gregg has also been spurred on by her own life experiences.

“I was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009,” said Ms Gregg.

As well as a brain tumour Ms Gregg also has problems with blood clots.

Her conditions have meant that she often has to go to medical appointments.

Fortunately she says that helping at the foodbank means she can schedule helping others around her health needs.

Undeterred by her medical problems, Ms Gregg decided to keep going, no matter what.

“So I created a bucket list,” said Ms Gregg.

“It’s just inspired me to do everything I want to do.”

Among the items on Ms Gregg’s bucket list were goals such as travelling all over the world, something that is no longer possible for her.

Despite this, Ms Gregg has made progress in completing her goals and is still continuing to tick off her list.

“I have done quite a lot,” said Ms Gregg.

“One of my last goals was to create a charity ball and I did that.”

As well as working to help the town at the foodbank, Ms Gregg also joined Hadleigh Town Council.

“The reason I did that was to create events, to get more visitors and make our town more inviting,”said Ms Gregg.

Ms Gregg said she wanted to help tourists enjoy the area and businesses make the most of those visiting.

Although she is busy Ms Gregg said she had never been happier in her work.

“I had also worked in sales and marketing previously,” said Ms Gregg.

“But it was not as rewarding as the work I do now.”

With so many projects underway at the foodbank what is next for Ms Gregg and her team of volunteers?

“We are about to put on a festival,” said Ms Gregg.

“It’s an outdoor movie and music festival.”

Ms Gregg said it was important to give people something to look forward to after a tough start to the year.

The event will feature live music and two films in the form of the Greatest Showman and the ever popular Grease.

“The festival idea was to give people a bit of a boost,” said Ms Gregg.

“It’s been quite depressing times for the last 5-6 months.”

Ms Gregg said she hoped that the festival would also help local stall owners had been invited to take part.

“There’s about 30 stalls,” said Ms Gregg.

“They haven’t been able to sell anywhere.”

Hadleigh Movie and Music Festival will take place on August 30, 12-10pm at Layham Road Sports Ground.

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