FIND foodbank in Ipswich saved from brink of closure after private donor steps in

Maureen Reynel and volunteer Alex Townsend work on sorting donations at FIND Foodbank in Ipswich.

Maureen Reynel and volunteer Alex Townsend work on sorting donations at FIND Foodbank in Ipswich. - Credit: Su Anderson

An Ipswich foodbank which serves as a lifeline for dozens of families has been saved from closure after a last-gasp donation.

The Families in Need (FIND) foodbank has provided food packages to those in desperate need for the last 25 years, but was on the brink of folding when the bank balance hit £0 last week, leaving volunteers almost ready to close the doors for good.

But a last-minute donation for £5,000 on Saturday morning by a private donor has kept the service afloat, and will be able to fulfil the need for more than 1,000 packages that will be going out to families over Christmas.

FIND founder Maureen Reynel said: “We had a funding injection of £5,000 from a personal donor so that’s fantastic.

“It pulls on the heartstrings a bit, but it is great to get the donation.

“We have got 1,000 boxes ready to go out and still lots to do in the next few days.”

This year has been the foodbank’s busiest ever year, having sent out 3,800 packages for families – an increase of more than 500 packages from last year, and that excludes the 1,000 being sent out this Christmas.

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But while the donation has been kept the service afloat for now, weekly costs of around £1,000 means the foodbank’s future is still not financially secure.

Mrs Reynel admitted last year that money had been tight as more and more families become dependent on a food parcel, coupled with the cost of Christmas pulling on the purse strings for many.

“We will soon see people contacting their agencies because they do get quite desperate,” she added. “The public and small businesses have been really, really generous this Christmas, and we have been inundated with food donations, but it would be great if that keeps up all the way through the year.

Mrs Reynel is hopeful of more funding coming through this week, while Ipswich Borough Council has insisted it will do everything it can to maintain the foodbank’s future.

“Some people donate £5 a month which is good, but we have nothing for a big spend in our foodbank so it’s been a monster of a week with nothing. I’m hopeful there is other money coming through on Monday,” she added.

Currently, the borough council has given £6,000 in community cash grants, with more set to follow after portfolio holder for communities Sophie Meudec confirmed a decision had been made to offer more financial support.

“We have made a decision and I think the foodbank will be given money,” councillor Meudec said.

“It’s very concerning because it’s something we attach great importance to and support, and people heavily rely on this foodbank.

“The borough council will fully support the foodbank, and I will be speaking to [council leader] David Ellesmere on this.”

To help support the foodbank, visit