Nearly £100,000 has been awarded by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to help those most in need over Christmas in the city.
£40,000 has been given to Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank, which will allow the service to provide urgent food provision over the holiday period to vulnerable households.
Other groups in the city have also benefited with £50,000 awarded to 19 community and voluntary organisations who were able to bid for funding of up to £3,000 to support community events and projects which support people who may be lonely or isolated or struggling financially this Christmas.
Veterans Connect and Better Together are two of the groups to benefit from the funding. Veterans Connect received £2,618 while Better Together received £3,000.
Veterans Connect is a Community Interest Company that brings together a vast array of community-based experience from working with homeless communities and veterans. Following research with the homeless people earlier this year, Veterans Connect applied for funding to help individuals to keep their feet dry by providing good footwear and socks and to help people be able to take control over their own health needs. The funding will pay for winter kits to be provided which include socks, underwear and backpacks to keep kit dry as well as sleeping pods.
Better Together supports the most vulnerable communities across Stoke-on-Trent with support for those who are lonely or isolated or who need help with food supplies. Through the funding the group is set to help more families and the elderly across the city with food parcels, hygiene provision and clothes distribution. The group also helps with providing household items, such as a fridge, help with budgeting and paying gas or electricity bills.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “The holiday period can often bring even more pressure for vulnerable people across the city. The foodbank and other voluntary and community groups do an invaluable job in providing essential support and help. We know what a brilliant job they all do and we’re really pleased to be able to provide this funding to help the groups reach and support more communities across the city when they need it the most.”
Birgit Allport, chief executive officer of Better Together, said: “Receiving the winter grant funding is great news as it will enable us to support even more people in our daily work across the city -whether it’s food, with hygiene products, helping them with loneliness or social exclusion – it will make a big difference.”
Trevor Bailey, director of Veterans Connect, said: “We are very happy to receive this funding which will help us work with homeless people throughout the winter. We’re finding a lot of foot injuries, ulcers and trench foot so the money that we’re getting will provide warm shelters for the homeless and new warm socks and footwear. It will go a massive way to helping us to help some of the most vulnerable people in the city throughout the winter period.”
The funding is part of £2.6m of Household Support Grant that’s been received from the government to provide support with essential bills. The £100,000 funding is part of a series funding and support measures that are being put in place over the winter including the Holiday, Food and Activities (HAF) fund initiative.
Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank deputy manager Nicola Shaw said: “We support 15 foodbanks across the city. We’re delighted to receive this money and have already started to spend it, in sending out supermarket vouchers to families and residents over the Christmas period.
“Emergency food means so much in helping people experiencing crisis. So far in December, we have provided food to 1,074 people including 456 children. We’re able to provide three days’ worth of food and well as wider support, referring people to free debt and money management advice. We are always in need of food donations and always welcome support from residents.”
To find out more about how you can access support, go to www.stoke.gov.uk