Food bank donations being taken at Saturday's game

Friday 8 December 2017

Newcastle Falcons are collecting items for the Phoenix Food Bank at Saturday's home game against Bordeaux-Begles.

A gazebo will be set up outside the East Stand club shop to collect food and toiletries for Phoenix, which is based on North Tyneside.

Suggested items include dried pasta, rice, long life milk, tea bags, sugar, biscuits, crisps, toiletries and the following tinned foods: beans, spaghetti, tomatoes, soup, meat and gravy, corned beef, chopped pork, potatoes, fruit, custard and rice pudding.

The Phoenix Food Bank was set up in 2013 by the Phoenix Detached Youth Project, a charity operating in an area that falls within the top 1.6% for depravation in England.

Mike Burgess, manager of the Phoenix Detached Youth Project, said: "The food bank was set up initially with support from the local company Owen Pugh Ltd who supported us in collecting food items which we would then turn into food parcels. Sadly in 2017 Owen Pugh Ltd has gone into administration after supporting the food bank for the last four years. This leaves a gap in a vital provision that supports those most vulnerable in the area.

"We have secured a small crisis fund that is able to cover gas and electric, however we are still struggling to find support in running our small food bank. We would like to ask if the rugby community would be able to come together and try and support our food bank target of raising 50 food parcels for local young people/young families.

"One of the reasons our food bank has been successful is that despite their desperation, the community is a proud and strong one, many of whom would not wish to use a food bank. However due to our links with the local community since 2004, they are more likely to turn to us for support, allowing us the opportunity to assess need and if needed offer food parcels, when someone may not wish to ask.

"We see food parcels as a short term solution, however what this allows us to do is then work on a long term solution and help them to break out of the cycle of poverty.

"We are proud to have links with the Falcons community Foundation. We have seen the benefits of rugby for young people and are currently working with North Shields rugby club, on our funny shaped ball project, encouraging and introducing some of the key beliefs of rugby into young people’s lives by encouraging them to take up rugby and where needed providing transport to get them to the sessions.

"We also explore ways of supporting people’s emotional needs while rugby helps them explore their physical and mental well being. This helps increase resilience with in the individuals which then positively impacts their communities."

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