Action Zones 

Churches across Norfolk feed 7000 people every month

the Well - meal

New research has revealed that Christian groups and churches in East Norfolk and Great Yarmouth help feed an incredible 7,000 people every month of the year across the county, following the example and command of Jesus Christ to ‘feed the hungry’  Keith Morris reports

The Norfolk Feeds 5000 survey of Christian organisations and churches right across Norfolk, by the team behind the website, has shone a light on scores of different groups who are engaged in nightly soup runs, weekly community meals, emergency food parcels and lots of other initiatives

Churches and projects in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, Blofield, Martham and Belton are all involved (more details of each below)

The research project is named after one of the well-known Bible miracles performed by Jesus - the feeding of the 5,000
Network Norfolk publisher Keith Morris, who helped to co-ordinate the research, said: “Christians do not have a monopoly on this kind of activity and there are other non-faith based groups in Norfolk doing similar things, but our research shows that the church is more than pulling its weight

“Collectively, the Christian community has come up with dozens of innovative and inspirational projects to meet the basic needs of vulnerable and sometimes desperate people in our towns and villages, through the simple activity of sharing a free meal with them or providing food for their families”

Of the 90 plus responses to the survey, Christian and church-led projects that involve hundreds of volunteers (some Christian and some not) reported that every month of the year an average total of around 7,020 people are either fed or provided with food to cook for themselves

You can see the full results and project case studies at

Follow a month-long social media campaign about the project at #norfolkfeeds5000

Minster Mission

A three-course dinner is served on weekdays at the Pathway café and Resource Centre with soup and a one dish main course on Saturdays

Barbara Rowe, of the Great Yarmouth Team Ministry, said: “Our aim is to provide a safe and comfortable space offering friendship, respect, support and a hot meal to the vulnerable, lonely, displaced and homeless within our community.  Sadly, we have recently been experiencing an upsurge on the number of clients requiring our services and advice – around 90 meals are served each session and an increased number of clients are seeking advice and/or signposting to local support agencies”

A hot meal and the breakfast is also provided at the Living Room night shelter to a dozen people daily. This project is run in conjunction with Imagine Norfolk Together (CUF) and overseen by them

TheWell 2017The Well – Gorleston Baptist Church

The Well is a caring community which aims to be a place where people feel accepted, loved and valued. They work with partners to support people with different needs. The services are all free and include a foodbank, a community lunch, mental health support, and a group to help with addiction

Manager Liz Townson says “The Well is part of Gorleston Baptist’s ‘Drop In’ initiative; a place where our local community can receive support, compassion and a free meal. It is a place of refuge and friendship to those who have perhaps fallen on hard times or who are struggling through a variety of reasons to support themselves"

“The Well aims to help and encourage the most hard-to-reach and disadvantaged members of our local area by being witnesses of God’s love and demonstrating this through acts of service and compassion”

Up to 100 are served at each session.  But please note that since hurrican Doris' damage to Gorleston Baptist Church roof, we operate this scheme from The Chapter House, St Andrew's Church, Church Lane, Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, NR31 6LS

There are opportunities to share the gospel and to pray according to each individual’s needs and an allotment area has been cultivated at the back of the church which is tended by visitors of The Well, providing a source of dignity as well as self-sufficiency”



Project: The Well
Who: Gorleston Baptist Church
What: Community Meal with listening and support
Where: Gorleston
When: Twice weekly
Numbers: Up to 100 people – up to 600 meals. Average attendance 65
Contact: Liz Townson, Manager by email at or call 07786 952306 

BlofieldPoppies 2017Poppies Community Café - Blofield

Poppies Community Café is part of St Andrew and St Peter Church Blofield’s community outreach, open once a week, offering food, friendship and company to the lonely
It meets in the old Blofield Court House in the centre of the village, allowing those from the nearby sheltered housing complexes and care home to walk or be brought by wheelchair and those starting on the dementia pathway are phoned with a reminder and lifts
Around 30 people attend each week aged from 46 to 95 years and are offered a savoury and sweet buffet with soft drinks. There is no charge, just a bowl for voluntary donations

Organisers John and Elizabeth Stokes said: “During the last half hour we enjoy a sing-song of old familiar songs which is great fun, so we all go home laughing. We are learning ‘to love our neighbour as ourselves’”
Great Yarmouth Foodbank now provides up to 1000 people with emergency food supplies each month, up from just 100 a year ago
St Mary's Martham and All Saints Belton both run a monthly Messy Church including a meal for around 40
The TLC project in Great Yarmouth until recently ran a monthly community meal called Open Door for around 15 people and a weekly Craft Café serving meals to around 60 people

this article also appeared on Network East Norfolk