This Challenge Poverty week, Corra is sharing stories from Henry Duncan Grant funded charities. Challenge Poverty week is an opportunity to change the conversation about poverty, end the stigma and show support for solutions. Find out more at: https://www.challengepoverty.net/
After the hardest five months of our charity’s existence it has been important to stop, take a breath, and ask “what’s next?”. We went from providing 32 parcels last May to 297 this year. In June we delivered to 272 households, supporting 776 individuals, 446 of them children. We started five years ago with a small food bank based in a garage with the sincere hope we wouldn’t be around for very long. We have grown a lot over the years and it has been an organic growth that has been led by our clients. Finding out other ways we can support them has led to the other projects we support like a counselling service, addiction recovery service, advice hub, garden project, cookery lessons, family away days.
This year with support from Corra Foundation’s Henry Duncan Grant programme we are working on a project to distribute vouchers for winter coats to all the families who have accessed our services over the past five months. Being able to give them vouchers to spend themselves, introducing that element of choice and control, we believe will have a very positive experience. We are supporting families through referral agents including the Council’s housing department, local schools and social work departments. We are also working on a winter warmer project providing a slow cooker, bags of fresh veg, supermarket vouchers and cookbooks to families, individuals and couples referred to us.
We continue to advocate for our clients and are working hard to re-instigate our Advice Hub by facilitating the Welfare Rights Team to get one on one time with clients, albeit on screen. Providing digital access to the Welfare Rights Team and access to the advice they need will be of huge benefit to our clients.
As we move towards Christmas, we will be looking at how we can support families through what is traditionally our busiest time. We expect to be supporting over 150 households this year, although the number may well be more. Whereas before we would have had a huge amount of community involvment we will be changing the model to make it as safe as possible and avoid large groups assembling to put the hampers together. It was a focus of the local community but safety of our clients, volunteers and donors is paramount. Moving more towards gift vouchers so that parents can buy presents for their own children again not only maintains safety regards Covid-19 but also has a huge impact on increasing the feelings of control, dignity and empowerment.
Having the support and stability of the Henry Duncan grant will enable us to plan projects that best serve our clients and their families.