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Foodbank given boost by contemporary art swap shop

Local artist and cameraman, Karl Coates, has given a boost to a local foodbank based at St Michael and All Angels Church in Norton with a unique fundraising idea after he felt called to give his art away.  

Karl Coates, is no stranger to seeing poverty first hand through his job as a TV news cameraman. Having recently written a book about his time in the industry -The Cameraman’s Tale, he has spent his downtime creating hundreds of contemporary art pieces. 

When he found out that the Norton Branch of the Billingham and Stockton Foodbank was in need of a boost and that St Michael & All Angels Church - where the Foodbank is based - had already set a date for a fundraiser, a perfect opportunity presented itself. 

Karl said: “I felt it was the right time to give my art away”. 

Karl decided to take his paintings along to the fundraising event and offered anyone who donated produce or money on the day the opportunity to swap them for one of the paintings. He even called on his family, friends and work colleagues to come along to collect their items. 

On the day, the local community enjoyed coffee and cake as they browsed the paintings on display, giving generously to raise almost £400 with more still to come in. To fill in some of the gaps on the Foodbank shelves, six full crates of produce and toiletries were also donated by locals, church members and the 4th Norton Brownies and Guides units.  

Karl said: “There has never been a more important time to be giving back to the communities of Stockton on Tees”.

Andrea Jackson, who coordinates the Foodbank, said: “We continue to see an increase in the number of people and families needing support just to survive.

“The support of the local community, church and Karl today will give us a much-needed boost. We thank them for their generosity.”

The Foodbank in association with the Trussell Trust opens for those needing its services every Monday between 12:30 and 2:30 inside St Michael & All Angels Church, Imperial Avenue, Norton.  Ongoing donations are gratefully accepted.

First published on: 9th October 2023
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