Children's Recipe Club
The Covid crisis is not just about 'not enough food'. It is also about mental health, quality of food and family life under stress. Our latest project is to supply families with recipe books designed to help children cook with adult supervision. We supply the book and the ingredients free to encourage a families to find common cause in the kitchen.
We also supply free slow cookers for some families without adequate cooking facilities. People cannot not live on spam alone.
Show me the exit route ......
Nobody wants to use a foodbank if they don't have to, and some would not have to if they know how to maximise their bills. But it is not easy getting the right advice to the right people.
Our local One-Stop Junction tells us they saved or raised £363,600 for their clients last year, with 100% success rate with those who engaged. Unfortunately, only 70% would engage. Some clients are afraid of speaking with official bodies, arguing, for example, that if they admit they cannot feed and clothe their children the council will put them into care.
The relationship we have built up with our clients, and our local reputation, enables us to act without that ‘official’ taint and thus to reassure and involve people who would otherwise try to hide their problem. The local authority is prepared to dedicate an employee to dealing with the additional clients we bring in, if we can eventually get them to engage.
Meanwhile, we also have the problem of "hidden hunger" - people who are too embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help until their health has already suffered. Research carried out for us by Brighton University indicates 16,192 people living with food insecurity in our town. How do we reach them and remove barriers that may prevent them from receiving help in good time?
Our solution to both problems is to employ, for two years, an experienced ‘pathway manager’ in a role we describe as a ‘food first outreach worker’. This is our job description:
To form good relations with our clients
To provide benefits advice and to signpost other issues
To foster good working relationships with other agencies and service providers
To help develop and implement a pathway out of food insecurity
To help perform outreach to groups of people, who through their work or other means, come into contact with those in food insecurity.
To help with data collection and writing of case studies.
We are applying for grants for this purpose but also raising donations to provide match funding.
Families who cannot afford food also cannot afford school uniform, so we collect, clean and redistribute it to help them over the crisis. We have managed to borrow a high street shop rent free in the short term (although we shall be looking for a replacement very soon) and The Prince's Trust bought along volunteers to help sort the stock then run a cake sale to raise funds - useful to have cash as we recently had to buy a pair of shoes so a client's daughter could walk to school. Our thanks to all concerned.