Anxious families facing a summer struggling to feed young mouths in Bristol have been handed a “vital lifeline” by the city’s United Communities and Solon South West housing associations.
People living in some of the most deprived parts of Bristol will now have access to essential supplies throughout the summer thanks to a £5,000 grant from the organisations’ Coronavirus Community Fund.
The funding has been donated to St Werburghs Community Association which is overcoming the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic to make sure that hard-up families do not go without after establishing a food bank.
The food bank service was earmarked for closure due to covid-19 restrictions until it was rescued with a grant from the Coronavirus Community Fund. In addition, services will be expanded with hot meals for those that have no cooking facilities.
Lyn Porter, chair of trustees for St Werburghs Community Association, said: “We are really grateful to United Communities and Solon South West housing associations for their financial support as we assist families hit really hard by the coronavirus pandemic, through no fault of their own.
“The grant will enable us to provide a vital lifeline for members of our local community who need us most as we all deal with these most difficult of times.
“Following government advice, we closed the community centre in March but hope this crisis will soon be over so it can re-open and get back to being the welcoming place it always has been, as shown by the food bank service.”
The funds have allowed the community association to deliver a food bank service currently operating from St Barnabas Primary school, Montpelier, and aimed at residents of the city’s Ashley, Easton and Lawrence Hill wards – all culturally rich but in some places socially and economically disadvantaged.
During the school holidays the service will be based at St Werburghs Community Centre, opening each Thursday from July 23, from 1.30-2.30pm to distribute food parcels to people who have signed up to the service.
United Communities chair James Taylor said: “The St Werburghs Community Association is providing a safety net to families who are being pushed to the limit by the coronavirus pandemic, which is denying them access to everyday things, but the association need a helping hand to keep up with demand.
“It’s more important than ever that people across our communities look out for each other as the pandemic continues and it is only right that we support a food bank that will ensure the most vulnerable do not go hungry.”
Solon South West chair Graham Oliver added: “The way St Werburghs Community Association has rallied around worried residents from Montpelier to Easton epitomises everything that is great about Bristol and they fully deserve our backing for the tremendous work they’re doing.
“We are putting our money where our mouths are through the Community Coronavirus Fund which demonstrates our commitment to work together to support traditionally resilient communities as they navigate their way through these tough times.”
The fund, established by Bristol housing associations, Solon South West and United Communities, is providing £100,000 to help community groups respond to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Each grant will support organisations through the immediate crisis and the subsequent recovery of community support activity.
Set up just a few weeks ago, the fund has already had a huge impact across Bristol with 20 grants already made to local organisations.
Other charities that have already received grants from the fund include the Baby Bank Network and Aid Box Community, both who support vulnerable people within Bristol’s communities, and Life Cycle UK which helps adults to unlock the benefits of cycling.