Council gives away £2,500 Christmas lights switch-on budget to foodbank

The £2,500 budget which would have been used for Stowmarket's Christmas lights switch-on is donated to the town's foodbank

The £2,500 budget which would have been used for Stowmarket's Christmas lights switch-on is donated to the town's foodbank - Credit: Stowmarket Town Council

A council has given away the £2,500 it would have spent on its Christmas lights switch-on to a foodbank – to help those most in need this winter. 

Stowmarket Town Council usually sets aside the budget for its annual Christmas lights switch-on and fayre. 

But with coronavirus restrictions meaning the event could not go ahead in 2020, the authority decided to give the money back to the community to spend as vouchers at Bidfood Stowmarket. 

It held a "People’s Vote” to ask residents where they would like to see the money spent instead, with Stowmarket and Area Foodbank coming out on top. 

Runners-up the Salvation Army, Stowmarket Corps and Jam Community Pot will each receive £250 from the council to spend on their winter projects. 

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A foodbank spokesman said: “We are delighted to have won the people’s vote for Christmas. 

“The food vouchers will help us maintain stock levels and ensure that we can continue to support local families and individuals over the festive period and the months ahead.  

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“The foodbank has been extremely busy with over 1,000 food parcels going out since March but, thankfully, Stowmarket's community spirit is very much alive and the support and donations we have received has enabled us to help so many people in need.” 

The Salvation Army said its money “will enable us to provide a warm meal to many isolated senior citizens, and a box full of goodies to those who may otherwise have gone without”. 

Founder of Jam Community Pot, Michelle Frost, added: “Sadly this year loneliness has become a part of so many people's lives and Christmas will also be a really difficult time. Thankfully, the generous donation will enable us to reach out to isolated and vulnerable people to provide them with a Christmas day lunch.” 

How Stowmarket town centre looks this Christmas

How Stowmarket town centre looks this Christmas - Credit: Stowmarket Town Council

The town council said it wanted to “thank the people of Stowmarket for taking part in this collective act of giving back”.  

A spokesman added: “Even though we may not be able to come together physically over this festive period we can still celebrate the amazing community spirit and resilience Stowmarket has shown over the year from the safety of our homes, and keep those effected by the pandemic in our thoughts.” 

For more details about the Jam Community Pot, visit its Facebook page.

To find out more about Salvation Army Stowmarket Corps, visit its website

More information about Stowmarket and Area Foodbank is available on its website

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