• Sarah Tempest

Helping our Communities in Covid

Rooftop has helped to deliver a Food Project to families and individuals in need in Worcestershire. Around 300 people have been supported with food hampers, warm clothing, personal products, soap, and blankets. Some white goods were also distributed.

An individual in our Older Person’s Scheme in Evesham said “It has been a lifeline for me as Covid-19 has meant I've had to shield for the best part of a year. Because of this, I've been unable to go to work and work any overtime to boost my income. Although I've been able to claim Universal Credit, my income has been severely affected and once the bills have been paid, I've had little money left for food. All of this has contributed to a deterioration in my mental health.”

Sue Bentley from Rooftop was the main organiser, with support from Rooftop staff and partnerships with other local organisations. Caring Hands in the Vale, Wallace House, Pershore Foodbank, CSD Veg Box Company, Ken Tallis Butchers in Pershore, and Master Butchers in Evesham all took part.

The project funding was coordinated by the Worcestershire Community Foundation, with

funds from the Worcestershire Covid-19 Response Appeal, the National Emergencies Trust, the Winter Grant Scheme Fund, Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Wychavon District Council and Malvern Hills District Council. £9,000 was spent in total.

Sue set up the network of local links with businesses and charities. A partnership with CSD Veg Boxes allowed for a weekly delivery throughout March to all participants, with fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, bread and cheese. With the support of Dave Purser, of the Master Butchers in Evesham, and Ken Tallis of Abbey Butchers in Pershore, we were also able to offer a scheme for fresh meat and items of a customers’ choice, with a delivery service to the most vulnerable.

Local Foodbanks, Caring Hands in the Vale and the Pershore Foodbank, and community organisations such as Wallace House in Evesham, helped with distribution and donations, including toiletries essentials.

Members of our community who were identified as most in need received the boxes. This ranged from individuals and families in our general needs service, people in our Older Person's Schemes, those in our Domestic Abuse Safe Houses, and the Homeless, to adults with Learning disabilities who are supported by Mencap.

The Managing Agents at one of our Mencap homes, said their residents were delighted by the project and have written a thank you letter "the service users we support were really grateful and took pleasure in helping the staff to cook with the goods provided to them."

A family in Pershore said they received a “Great quality fruit and veg box with extras. We're very thankful for the help in hard times.”

The Food Project was a pilot scheme, and we hope that we will be able to run similar projects in the future. Rooftop wants to support our customers in need, whose circumstances have worsened during the Covid pandemic. The project has helped us to engage with tenants and service users and helped to build relationships when times are challenging.

We are here to help, to support and to offer advice. Our Income Team and our Money Advisors, helped to identify those most in need of extra support.

Dave from Evesham said “I would really like to say a massive thank you to Sue, Naomi and Juita for all the help they’ve been giving me. I got my veg box today and I feel like it’s Christmas. The three of you and whoever at Rooftop helped arrange all this have been so lovely for helping people like me. You have done more than your job. We’re so lucky to have you”.

Our partners at Wallace House said,

“we had a lovely message from a family who have all tested positive and have been struggling to manage on Statutory Sick Pay with both adults not able to work and 2 children at home too. They were blown away by the quality and his wife was in tears when I dropped their boxes off. It's made a massive difference to their physical and mental wellbeing.”

The project was a briliant example of partnership working and the good work of organisations such as the Worcestershire Community Foundation and our local councils. One of the fantastic aspects of the scheme was being able to work with local charities and businesses, who have also been struggling or adapting because of Coronavirus.

Dave Griffin, one of the founders of CSD Veg Box Company in Worcestershire said, “all our produce is from Red Star Growers, so everything is locally sourced…we are all passionate about our local community and helping people out wherever we can, and we love the chance to work with Rooftop.”

We want to thank everyone, both organisations and individuals, who gave support, funding, and their time to make this project happen.

https://www.worcscf.org.uk/ Worcestershire Community Foundation

https://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/ Worcestershire County Council

https://www.worcester.gov.uk/ Worcester City Council

https://www.wychavon.gov.uk/ Wychavon District Council

https://www.malvernhills.gov.uk/ Malvern Hills District Council

https://pershore.foodbank.org.uk/?_ga=2.85831129.1548154288.1619636226-2097032383.1619636226 Pershore Food Bank

http://www.chands.org.uk/ Caring Hands in the Vale

https://www.wallacehouse.org.uk/ Wallace House Community Centre

https://www.mencap.org.uk/ Mencap

https://www.facebook.com/abbeybutchers.pershore Ken Tallis and Abbey Butchers Pershore

https://www.instagram.com/p/CH8GD_aJBLU/ CSD Veg Boxes

https://www.thehairybutcher.co.uk/ Dave Purser and the Master Butcher, Evesham