The 2010 official launch with Richard Howitt MEP
We began working to assist families and individuals struggling with debt in 2005 in partnership with Christians Against Poverty. During that work, we occasionally came across families who were struggling to feed themselves – often due to bank charges, benefit delays and so on.
In 2007 we made contact with the Trussell Trust network of foodbanks, eventually launching in Haverhill in October 2008. Initially our foodbank distribution was based at a site in the centre of Haverhill. It was fruitful and successful but we were limited as to what we could do for clients, especially in terms of making phone calls to agencies or signposting. The root causes of their problems remained unexplored. We began to feel the need for our own centre where we could not only assist our clients more fully but could expand our projects and base everything under one roof. We had already opened an embryonic furniture bank having received offers and requests for household items and furniture and acquired warehousing space.
We opened the Reach Resource Centre in May 2010. The centre provides a focus for all Reach activities and is evidence of the gradual expansion of our projects and the realisation of our aspiration to provide greater integration to all that we do. An individual client can now access all our services and resources from a single ‘hub’.
We are well-known and respected locally and have strong relationships and support from local authorities (especially St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Haverhill Town Council), local business (including large retailers like Tesco and Sainsbury), churches, schools and other community groups. We have been expanding our relationships with grant making bodies since 2013 and have a productive partnership with Suffolk Community Foundation via whom we receive significant funding. The Royce Group (local mechanical services engineering business) has given us space since we started out in 2005, more recently hosting our food, furniture and Starter Pack items.