Throughout the COVID-19 crisis we have worked closely with communities to support them with new and essential services to respond to challenges born out of the national health crisis. We have partnered with local authorities and community groups to combat food poverty and limited access to services and are proud to be continuing this work post-lockdown.
Working together to support communities
We are pleased to be working in partnership with several organisations across the south of England to continue to supply food resources to families in-need. We recognise that the emergency response provision started in March remains essential in some areas so we are continuing to utilise our resources to ensure communities can recover from this challenging time positively.
To reach the right people, and ensure everyone receives the support they need, we have partnered with several different organisations to combine our resources and deliver positive benefits.
Where are we working to make a difference?
We work year-round to support people living across our entire geography, however right now there is an increased need for additional resources to stabilise communities and provide access to food services. We can do this best when we work in tandem with other organisations, so here’s a summary of where we are continuing to carry out additional support.
In East Hampshire we are pleased to be working closely with East Hampshire District Council to run a six-week food initiative in partnership with Play Around and the Whitehill and Bordon Community Trust. Families will receive food boxes with fresh ingredients alongside a video cook along and recipe card. To promote good physical health recipients will also receive activity packs from Energise Me.
In Southampton we are launching Good Grub Club online which will see 29 families enjoy making healthy, delicious food from home with digital support from our dedicated Community Development team. We are also supporting Colne Avenue Baptist Church with an essential hot meal delivery service to families who usually have access to free school meals. Together we will combine our resources to provide 30 meals per day to families.
In Portsmouth and Gosport, we are supporting local community enterprises identified by dedicated Community Development Officers. In Portsmouth we are working with Enable Ability and Landport Community Centre to deliver approximately 90 meals a day and have loaned a vehicle to underpin their delivery service. To date, the hub has provided more than 2,000 meals.
In Gosport we recently secured £20,000 in funding towards the Gosport Food Partnership which will focus on positive wellbeing and healthy eating, while directly supporting the continuation of food banks in the borough. We continue to work closely with our colleagues at Gosport Borough Council and Gosport Voluntary Action to develop the town’s recovery plan following the recent health crisis.
We are also working with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to provide support to their West Windsor Hub in Dedworth with food parcels, while exploring the introduction of steering groups to gain community insight into where we can make the best difference. By working in partnership with the local council and members of the community we can really home in on what support is needed in the COVID-19 recovery period and beyond.
Achieving a sense of togetherness
One of the biggest challenges of this year has been the isolation and loneliness many of us have experienced. To actively combat this, we introduced the Buddy Club, a welfare referral scheme which sees our colleagues contact customers via the telephone to have a chat and feel connected. We’ve found that this not only supports our residents but also promotes positive wellbeing for our colleagues too.
More recently, we have reopened our community cafes in Bordon and Mansbridge, providing a safe space for people to meet and socialise. We’ve been able to welcome back our customers with a key focus of empowering people to feel part of something positive.
Supporting grass roots initiatives in communities across the south and south west of England has never been more vital. Social enterprises ultimately help to reduce isolation and provide a foundation of support for community members and we are proud to be playing our part in bringing these projects to life.