Groups feeding families get almost £300,000 from Food and Energy Support Fund

DCF partnership with BCP Council aids 32 groups

Groups feeding families get almost £300,000 from Food and Energy Support Fund

ALMOST £300,000 has been awarded to grass roots groups and charities feeding families, thanks to a partnership between Dorset Community Foundation and BCP Council.

The community foundation set up the BCP Food and Energy Support Fund with money allocated to the council from the government’s Household Support Fund. The fund has supported 32 groups across the BCP area with £298,000 worth of grants.

Among the recipients was We Are Humans in Bournemouth, which will use a £7,500 grant to run breakfast clubs for families struggling with the cost of living crisis and a weekly lunch club for pensioners.

Fundraiser Ellie Lawrence said the charity’s team of volunteers have been providing nutritious meals for up to 50 people a session at the former Conroys Bar in Sea Road, Bournemouth, which it now rents.

She said the grant will allow the group to extend the breakfast club across the school holidays and add an extra lunch session for older people. “It’s very difficult for families and we know that a lot of children go to school hungry without the club during term time,” she said. “The grant will really make a difference to us and it will mean we can help them over the summer and at half-term and Christmas.”

West Howe Community Enterprises will be sending out food bags to families and holding fortnightly community lunches, as well as a weekly evening meal at the Henry Brown Centre in BCP’s second most deprived area, thanks to an £9,289 grant. Manager Julie Deller said: “Last June we had around 588 people through the centre, this June we have seen 1,600 so we know the need is there.

“The grant will be a big help because the more people we can support and encourage to come into the centre, the more they will start seeing there’s a lot of support for them here.”

It’s heartbreaking to read some of the referrals that come to us – children eating out of bins, and being forced to steal food at school

Ashley’s Birthday Bank in Christchurch received £8,000 to continue supporting up to 30 families with children a week by delivering food shopping or vouchers to help stretch their budgets. It delivers enough food to help families in crisis who are referred by social workers and healthcare professionals and allows them to spend what little money they have on clearing bills.

Trustee Anna Selby said: “It’s heartbreaking to read some of the referrals that come to us – children eating out of bins, and being forced to steal food at school. Also children who are being so badly neglected due to poverty, and end up in the care of grandparents, who are trying to manage on a tight pension budget.

“The grant will be a massive help and will such a difference it will enable us to carry on providing food and that’s going to be so important with the summer holidays coming and demand is rising all the time.”

Dorset Community Foundation Chief Executive Grant Robson said: “We are so pleased to be working with BCP Council again and delighted that because we are able to shape our grant giving to meet the council’s needs we have been able to get this money to 32 fantastic groups who will make the very most of it.

“All of these projects are making a massive difference in their communities and thanks to this funding a lot of families and individuals will be better fed, better cared for and made to feel a part of their community.”

Councillor Millie Earl, Deputy Leader of BCP Council and Portfolio Holder for Connected Communities said: “We are committed to helping our residents who are struggling with the rising cost of living. The BCP Food and Energy Support grants will provide a lifeline to support those in our communities who are close or already in financial crisis, and I would like to thank Dorset Community Foundation for administering the fund.

“I would like to congratulate the 32 voluntary organisations who have been awarded the grants to carry out the valuable work helping our residents and families most in need, particularly during the summer holidays.

“I would urge our residents of all ages to reach out to access the invaluable help which is being provided across our communities.”

Pictured: Volunteers at We Are Humans in Bournemouth, who are providing a breakfast club and community meals with money from the BCP Food and Energy Support Fund

Pictured: West Howe Community Enterprises will be holding fortnightly community lunches

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