Boost for 'vital service' as flood risk project puts community at its heart

Antony Parke, East Suffolk councillor David Ritchie and Tom Farley

Antony Parke, East Suffolk councillor David Ritchie and Tom Farley with the van and one of the PINK Orange household meal kits. - Credit: Mick Howes

It is a "vital service" that has helped thousands of vulnerable people and families.

Since launching in the summer of 2020, The Pink Orange service has supplied thousands of household meal kits to struggling families.

Established by the Lowestoft-based charity Access Community Trust, PINK Orange delivers ingredients kits to households with children across Norfolk and Suffolk.

As well as providing essential food support, it also encourages children and young people to learn how to cook in a simple way.

The PINK Orange van.

The PINK Orange van. - Credit: Mick Howes

This week, the scheme received a significant boost as the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project and its contractor Balfour Beatty united in supporting the running costs of the PINK Orange van.

Antony Parke, head of commercial growth and customer service for Access, said: “It is great to see a large business, which is invested in Lowestoft support the local community in this way.

Antony Parke Tom Farley East Suffolk councillor David Ritchie

Antony Parke about to receive the keys to the van from Tom Farley and East Suffolk councillor David Ritchie. - Credit: Mick Howes

"Demand for PINK Orange continues to grow daily, with many vulnerable families now facing prolonged hardship as they struggle to make ends meet."

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With the the lease costs of the delivery vehicle being supported for 12 months, Mr Parke added: "PINK Orange has running for almost two years now and we've delivered to heading towards 30,000 families since then.

"It's a vital service.

"We've been working in partnership with the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWAS) and since November 1 we've supported 324 families in a month with 87 new referrals in the last two weeks.

Antony Parke Tom Farley East Suffolk councillor David Ritchie

Antony Parke receiving the keys to the van from Tom Farley with East Suffolk councillor David Ritchie. - Credit: Mick Howes

"We are expecting that demand to probably increase in the coming weeks."

David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for Planning and Coastal Management and Chair of the Flood Risk Management Project Board, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the Access Community Trust.

"Their work to support those in most need is inspiring."

Antony Parke Tom Farley East Suffolk councillor David Ritchie

Antony Parke receiving the keys to the van from Tom Farley with East Suffolk councillor David Ritchie. - Credit: Mick Howes

Tom Farley, project manager at Balfour Beatty, said: “We are committed to supporting the communities in which we operate, rallying together to volunteer our time and resource to benefit vulnerable people."

With the project delivered through the SCAPE Framework, meaning the project team is committed to generating social value as part the construction through volunteering and donations to community organisations, Mr Farley added: “Through the SCAPE Framework, it has been a pleasure to provide our assistance on what is such a great initiative.”

Families seeking support should contact rachael.dodd@accessct.org