Our community food clubs and homeless support services have seen a surge in demand that is unprecedented. We are facing the hardest winter on record as the cost of living crisis, rising interest rates and increasing fuel costs have thrown our communities into poverty. We had huge community support through harvest but despite its success, the levels of donations coming through show a widening gap to demand.
We have always provided crisis support for those facing hardship and homelessness, with emergency food parcels and a warm space to eat and find safety. We also pride ourselves on our ability to provide long-term support to those that need it, with food on a daily basis throughout periods of hardship. Our services are also a gateway to additional support, from advice on budgeting and housing to support with mental health and addiction. Our service goes beyond simply food or heat.
We have stepped up to this winter’s challenges by expanding our number of food clubs and increasing our warm spaces. From October we are providing food staples for a staggering 72’000 meals every month and this number is growing.
Additional Community Food Clubs
Food inflation is now at a staggering 14.6 percent according to new data from the Office of National Statistics. This has resulted in soaring prices for staples such as bread, milk, cheese and eggs. Many of our service users are struggling to eat healthy meals, many are skipping meals altogether and some are choosing between buying food and paying bills.
The cost of living crisis is pushing millions below the breadline. Over 5 million people in the UK are currently struggling to get enough to eat. One in four households with children have experienced food insecurity during October, with more children than ever arriving at school hungry.
Since the beginning of October, we have expanded our Community Food Club network to reach those in communities beyond central Northampton, and have community food clubs in Brixworth, Woodford Halse, Daventry and Moulton. All our food clubs see queues of people coming every week to register for food support. This increase alone has seen demand for food rise from 27’000 meals a month to a staggering 72’000 meals. And this is likely to increase over the coming months.
New ‘Heat’ initiatives
We have anticipated the impact of rising fuel costs and the struggle people will have to afford to keep warm. We have opened a new community cafe at Ash Street, providing a warm space for people who simply cannot afford to put their heating on. Here they can chat with likeminded people, keep warm with food and drinks and speak to our team about any additional needs we can help with. We have also increased our provision to support a rising numbers of homeless in the community through our Hand Up service. Handing out extra clothing, extending opening hours and ensuring a daily supply of hot meals and drinks.
Our warm space is open Monday – Friday 10am – 3pm and is open to anyone. For those facing hardship we are open from 8.30am-10.00 pm for warmth and a free continental breakfast.
(The Cafe is located at the bottom of a flight of stairs an d is not suitable for those unable to use stairs.) Please contact us for accessibility information.
Meeting Rising Demand
With our experience in poverty and homelessness we have the services in place to support the hardship our communities are facing this coming winter. We have worked tirelessly to make sure our Community Food Clubs are sustainable and along with our Hand Up service, provide users with regular food and access to wider support services. Our services are not just a source of food or warmth, but are a gateway to signpost members to a wider support network; financial advice, housing support, benefits advice and support with addiction and mental health. The term ‘food’ or ‘fuel poverty’ is misleading, poverty impacts people and communities in ways that go beyond food or fuel. We offer a holistic solution to support our community though the wide and diverse challenges poverty brings.
To understand the value of our service to our users, listen to Kevin’s story.
Support our ‘Eat, Heat & Hope’ campaign this winter.
Food Drop Boxes:
Our food donation drop boxes hold enough food to provide staples for 250 meals. We are looking for businesses across Northamptonshire to commit to a winter food collection, between November and the 31st December, we want you to fill the box twice! With these donations alone we can generate supplies for 25’000 meals.