BaNES Holiday Hunger Appeal 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic has put the UK’s wealth gap in the spotlight with child food poverty being an area that has received much publicity. Schools remained closed for the final four months of the academic year, which meant fewer children were guaranteed a substantial meal during this period. This was further exacerbated as term time ended and we moved into the holidays.
Knowing that support with food was needed to reach people over the October half-term, 3SG collaborated with Bath MP Wera Hobhouse and ran a LocalGiving campaign to raise funds in support of getting food to families and young people in need during the school holidays. In one week, the campaign raised £55,000 and together with St. John’s Foundation, 3SG was able to identify and direct those funds to community-led food projects and charities tackling holiday hunger in BaNES.
With a mind to the future, and the knowledge that food poverty remains an issue outside of school holidays, the Holiday Hunger Appeal directed these funds to projects that are committed to having a long term impact on food poverty.
FareShare South West, Mercy In Action, Oasis Hub, Weston Welcome Cafe and Food Club, Southside Family Project and FOOD Clubs are some of the organisations that benefited from increased funding to support their work providing more affordable food to families and young people in BaNES. Below is some of the feedback from the projects and individuals that benefited from the Holiday Hunger Appeal:
Southside Family Project
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Oasis Pantry & Plate Up (formerly known as Make Lunch)
Make Lunch in Bath received a generous donation from the Localgiving appeal. This was used directly to supporting our holiday hunger programme, which we’ve been running in Bath for the last 5 years. We used some of these funds to expand our provision at Christmas, and to provide additional support in February half term and at Easter. We made 200 deliveries across these three holidays to 58 different families, encompassing nearly 200 children and another 100 adults. Alongside store cupboard foods and treats we delivered fruit and vegetable bags, which had proven earlier in the year to be really popular, and so we really wanted to provide again. This crowdfunder made that possible, and we know how much that’s appreciated by our families.
We also delivered bags of activities as we couldn't meet together, for children of all ages to do both independently and with their families. This included decorations to make, baking kits and a booklet of even more Christmas crafts and activities alongside seasonal recipes. At Easter we sent out a pack of new activities alongside "make your own playdough" kits and Easter hat kits.
We will continue to use these funds over the months ahead to provide both food and further activities over May and summer, and are very excited to be currently planning our "Summer adventures" pack. This will comprise of a jam-packed booklet full of different ideas for activities, crafts, games, local walks and simple picnic recipes, and will be delivered alongside some practical equipment and tools to support a summer filled with family adventures, and a great range of tasty food.
Holiday hunger, and poverty, are about so much more than food, and so that’s why alongside providing tasty and nutritious food we’re also using these funds to provide experiences, to increase skills and confidence in cooking, and to provide support and encouragement for families to explore new experiences together. We’re really grateful to everyone who supported the Crowdfunder so generously, and so is directly supporting families who need that extra help at the moment. Every single penny has made a difference.
During 2020 Action Pantry was inundated with requests to provide weekly food for an increasing number of families for whom the pandemic had caused additional hardship. Our numbers grew from 40+ families in February 2020 to 125 in June.
By the autumn numbers had dipped and risen again to 140 with more referrals on a weekly basis. Food was more available than earlier in the year but deliveries to 50 households a week was labour intensive and becoming difficult to sustain. The award from 3SG enabled us to extend the employment of a part time member of staff for a further 3 months and to give 8 hours a week to another person. Between them and with volunteer and trustee support it enabled us to guarantee deliveries and a pick up system for everyone on our Pantry books.
Money was spent buying additional food during December to make sure every family had something to celebrate and buying in Halal meat ( something we rarely have donated) for our Muslim families made them feel accepted and celebrated at a time they can feel marginalised.
The extra racking was vital as it gave us space to prepare our food boxes each week.
Since our shops have reopened we have been able to retain both temporary members of staff and have offered yet more hours to one of them. She was previously a Pantry member who had volunteered to help. She’s now training to be the manager!
I hope you’ll feel the award to Mercy in Action was well used and gave value for money. I know our service would have not been the success it has been without this donation at such a vital time.
Thank you for enabling us to serve hundreds of families at such a critical time. We intend to build on this over the coming months.
The last word from one of our members...
“Thank you so much, I really wouldn’t have gotten through these last months without all your help. I was going without meals so that the kids could eat, and it was so sad when they were hungry, and we did not even have basic snacks for them. Now we can get those things and not have to worry when money is tight or worry about what our family was going to eat each day. It has really been a godsend.”( From H. Mum of 4 who is unable to leave her home due to anxiety)
Weston Welcome Cafe
The grant of £5,000 from 3SG is being used to support a second Community Café in Weston Village, helping to fight food poverty in the area.
The first Café was opened in July 2020 as a response to the pandemic, and provides a free lunch and a food pantry for local residents every Monday, helping to reduce food poverty in the Weston area, and building supportive friendships for those who come. This takes place on Mondays in a community hall in the village.
The second Café will open in another community hall, on Fridays. It is in a popular area, and will provide support mainly for young families and for older people. Food for both Cafés will come from both FareShare and Bath Foodbank. The new Café will open after the end of lockdown. Both Cafés are managed by the churches in Weston Village.
Said Peter Heywood “We are all most grateful to 3SG for helping to tackle hunger in the Weston Village area. Our intention is to continue to run both Cafés for the foreseeable future, and additional services, including cookery classes, will be added as we go forwards.”
The grant will be used to support the employment of a part-time manager for the new Café, who will be supported by a team of volunteers.
“We were so inspired to see the generosity of local people across Bath and North East Somerset in responding to 3SG’s Holiday Hunger Appeal launched by Wera Hobhouse MP. The Covid-19 crisis has been so difficult for children, young people and families struggling with food poverty and the additional pressures of isolation, home learning and financial pressures with the loss of work or income. This kind support has helped Southside to provide essential food supplies through our Food Pantries and deliveries of hundreds of nutritious meals to isolated families, connecting with them to ensure that they can also access other help and support they need at this difficult time. Many thanks to 3SG, Wera Hobhouse MP and all the individual donors for your generous support.” - Penny McKissock (CEO, Southside Family Project)
The support from the Holiday Hunger Appeal helped Southside to provide targeted support for local families particularly impacted by the Covid-19 crisis through:
Weekly Food Pantries in Twerton and Peasedown St John, in partnership with FareShare SW
Family Food Hub Groups with a professional chef preparing nutritious family meals, delivered to homes
Meals donated by Wessex Water in January and February, distributed to families in need through local schools
The Southside Family Food Hub Groups were set up in August 2020 to support families with children facing holiday hunger and continued through the generosity of donors.
Each family receives around 3-5 meals in their weekly delivery, one for each member of the family:
November 2020 102 deliveries, supporting 53 families (over 400 meals)
December 2020 150 deliveries, supporting 61 families (over 600 meals)
January 2021 107 deliveries, supporting 51 families (over 420 meals)
February 2021 130 deliveries, supporting 54 families (over 520 meals)
March 2021 215 deliveries, supporting 59 families (over 850 meals)
Feedback from families:
"It is a lifesaver; I do not know what I would do without it."
"It has helped me try new foods that I couldn’t risk or afford to buy in case my children didn’t like them and experiment with different ingredients."
"Thank you so much, it’s such a treat knowing on a Thursday the meals are coming and I don’t have to worry about what to cook tonight. They are delicious and the children love them".
"This funding will help increase our capacity and open our existing clubs a second day a week – therefore supporting an additional 50 families from each club."
Family Action operates three FOOD clubs in the B&NES area. These are located in:
St Martins Children Centre, Odd Down, Bath
Keynsham Children’s Centre, Keynsham
Radstock Library, Radstock, Somerset
FOOD clubs were set up to provide families with good-quality food at a low cost, while also reducing food waste.
FOOD clubs are a membership scheme. It costs just £1 a year for a family to become a member. To become a member a family must live or work within 15 minutes of a FOOD club. Families accessing the club over a year pay a weekly charge of £3.50 (£182 for the year). In return, each family receives a mixture of fresh meat, fresh vegetables, dairy, bakery and store-cupboard essentials worth up to £15 per week (in excess of £780 per year). Each household therefore saves approx. £600 per year.
As well as the impact on family finances, FOOD clubs also:
Improve access to healthy food, and provide education around how to cook new foods
Encourage families to access local support services and be signposted to other agencies
Reduces the amount of food being sent to landfill in the UK by utilising surplus food
The funding from the Holiday Hunger Appeal contributed to staffing hours required to operate the FOOD clubs, food costs from Fareshare, Health and Safety costs (including PPE and cleaning equipment), volunteer expenses and training costs.
Up to the end of May 2021, in total, the FOOD club scheme in B&NES has provided local families with savings of over £37,000 in the 42 weeks since opening. These savings have freed up budgets for members to be able to purchase and pay for other essentials (e.g. energy costs, clothing, school equipment).
Alongside the financial savings on food, the club has provided many other services and benefits:
Children Centre Support – due to the close partnership with the Bright Start Children Centres in all three settings, members of the food club can also access other support services. This has been a crucial lifeline for families during lockdowns.
Access to FamilyLine – members of the FOOD club have access to Family Action’s Family Line service, which is to help adult family members with ongoing support with parenting and other issues.
Upskilling of members – volunteering opportunities at the FOOD clubs for members and locals. Each of our volunteers has access to a wide range of training, such as Food Hygiene Level 3. One of B&NES volunteers, Rakeesh, has written a blog about their experience of volunteering at the FOOD club in Bath.
Environmental Impact – Each food club receives 200kg of food a week from Fareshare South West. This food would otherwise have been wasted as it is an industry surplus. In the 42 weeks since opening, the 3 FOOD clubs in B&NES have redistributed 25 tonnes of food (saving it from landfill) and saved 10 tonnes of CO2.
A selection of quotes from the B&NES FOOD club members:
“Got to say this has been a life saver since losing my job during first lockdown. Everyone is so happy and helpful. Thank you so much x”
“Love it! This is fab, so much choice for little money! Thank you!”
“Brilliant, different meals each week. Such a bargain price too. Love it :) “
“I think this is a really good idea and has helped me a lot. The people who are running the club are all lovely and helpful “