THE POVERTY ISSUE
Welcome to Issue 30 of the Greater Manchester Housing Providers newsletter, shining a light on the work we do to help reduce poverty, and the people and communities we work with.
Food has been at the frontline of our poverty response, even before the impact of Covid, and since this is our summer issue it feels timely to shine a light on all the food projects and summer holiday activity that we’re supporting.
In place of our usual update from one of the GMHP theme leads we thought it would be useful to highlight Challenge Poverty week in case you haven’t already heard about it. Challenge Poverty Week England & Wales is an opportunity for us all to say what needs to change after Covid to enable our own communities to thrive. There are four aims which are Raising Voices - To raise voices in unison against poverty and shine a light on visions for a more just, compassionate and opportunity-filled country. Show Community - To show what is already being done at community level to challenge and alleviate poverty. End the Stigma - To change the conversation around poverty and help end the stigma. Build Awareness - To build awareness and support for sustainable responses to the pandemic that focus on enhancing the dignity and agency of people in poverty. There are many ways to get involved and you can find out more about that on the website but as a minimum we’re asking all housing providers to think about what you could share in relation to aim 2. Alongside that we’ll be sharing some key messages nearer the time that you could put out on your social media channels. It would be great to get a good response from housing providers on this. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more. Thank you to our contributors for sharing your stories. As usual you are very welcome to send your feedback or suggestions for the next issue to Julie.Ralph@boltonathome.org.uk
GET BACK ON TRACK WITH MOTIV8
Motiv8 is a Greater Manchester programme to help unemployed people aged 25 and over. It supports some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in society to overcome a wide variety of complex issues and barriers to improve their lives and help move them closer to work. It is a Manchester Athena programme, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund and is a voluntary programme. Participation can help to improve people’s health and wellbeing, self-confidence, self-esteem and other crucial employability skills to improve their chances of accessing training or finding a job. FOOD POVERTY AND MOTIV8 SUPPORT
Motiv8 works with a wide range of food banks who continue to provide crucial help to some of our clients. We would like to say a big thank you for all their support: The Trussell Trust across Greater Manchester The Mustard Tree Your local pantries across Stockport Wythenshawe food bank The Brick in Wigan Urban Outreach in Bolton South Parade in Rochdale Food Help Ship for voucher codes Chelwood Food Bank Plus The Wellspring in Stockport Wai Yin Society - Motiv8’s specialist partner
and so many more brilliant local organisations that are working hard to tackle food poverty. Hazel Clarke, Head of Jigsaw Support, the lead housing provider for Motiv8, said: "These donations make a huge difference to some of our clients. We are there to provide support to help them get back on track - but sometimes this involves tackling the most basic of human needs that are a barrier to people being able to progress, such as food and housing. These can be a big part of the tailored support we provide to help our participants move forward with their lives during their Motiv8 journey.”
MOTIV8 MOTIV8 SUMMARY AND RETURN TO FACE TO FACE DELIVERY
Motiv8 has supported 4,528 people since its launch in January 2017 (as of end of June 2021), working with people who are furthest away from employment and who: Are aged 25 or over Live in Greater Manchester Are not in education, training or employment Have the right to live and work in the UK Have multiple support needs Through a personalised action plan Motiv8 supports their clients to improve their health and well-being, self-confidence and esteem, finances and employability skills. Recent evaluation found that most of Motiv8s participants are most focussed on receiving
support for barriers they are facing in day-to-day life such as housing or mental health needs and with confidence and motivation. This helps them to 'move on'. Without this, opportunities around education, training or employment can seem unattainable, or unreachable. Return to face to face delivery
Throughout the pandemic Motiv8 support has been delivered by telephone and in accordance with Government advice. A recent customer survey with some of our participants, many of whom expressed gratitude for continuing remote delivery during the pandemic, saw 75% say that they would like to see face to face and in person meetings return as part of Motiv8 delivery. So as of August, we have started to reintroduce face to face and home visits,working closely with our customers to meet their needs. WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MOTIV8?
Further information about Motiv8 can be found at www.motiv8mcr.org or call 0161 331 2048 or email email@example.com You can view also view some case studies and success stories at www.motiv8mcr.org/success-stories Jigsaw Support, part of Jigsaw Homes Group, is leading the Motiv8 programme in partnership with other Manchester Athena housing providers - Bolton at Home (through Starts With You), ForHousing, Stockport Homes Group (through Foundations Stockport) and Wythenshawe Community Housing Group.
BOLTON AT HOME
As in previous years, our amazing partner, Urban Outreach, led a project to make and distribute packed lunches over the summer holidays. Our cover picture shows the lovely message sent to thousands of children across the borough. An army of local volunteers made and packed the lunches and the final total this year was a huge 67,050. Bolton Council, Bolton at Home, Seddon and Warburtons provided transport to get the lunches out to the 22 distribution sites across the borough, some of which were also supported by our colleagues. We work in partnership with Urban Outreach to deliver a number of Pantries across the borough. They are also a key partner in Greenworks, our new project to develop Bolton’s first low carbon business park and become an environmental centre of excellence for the region. Urban Outreach already run the Bolton humanitarian hub from the site and together we have future plans to tackle food poverty from the site including food growing and hydroponics (growing without relying on soil). FAMILY FOOD AND FUN
Our community investment team ran their usual summer family food and fun sessions in eight neighbourhoods, working with local residents, community groups and partners to deliver activities which were enjoyed by local families. As you’d expect, a lot of the activities were outdoors this year and luckily we enjoyed some good weather.
The Covid pandemic has been undoubtedly the largest challenge Jigsaw Homes has faced as an organisation. The response from teams to concentrate efforts on ensuring the welfare of our tenants and keeping vital services running has been outstanding with individuals being redeployed to alternative roles and duties with lots of cross team working. Throughout the pandemic Jigsaw supported food banks and food provisions in Greater Manchester with financial donations and with identifying and referring people who are most in need of their services. FOOD WORKS PROJECT
Jigsaw worked in partnership alongside Sure Start Children’s Centre, Clayton to help Healthy me Healthy Communities to hold a food works course. The course aimed to train members of the local community with a passion for food to design and deliver information sessions and cook and taste sessions in their local communities. The course provided participants with a range of health, nutrition and wellbeing knowledge using practical application to grow confidence and engage in team working. Here's what they said about the course ' The course has been great for teaching me how to make healthy choices for my family, meet new people and work in a team' Ade 'My confidence has grown and I've learned so much from the other people in the group.' Kelly 'I've been more conscious when choosing ingredients that I wouldn't have looked at before and making healthier Caroline
We had six successful members of the community pass the course after demonstrating a live information and or cooking session. One group chose to deliver a session based on ketchup. As most children eat ketchup with every meal the team wanted to share the nutritional values and healthy swaps parents could make. They created a homemade ketchup for a fraction of the cost. The second team wanted to deliver a cook and taste for a quick healthy nutritious meal for a family of four. The final group wanted to show an easy meal which contained every nutrient a child needs for the day. NEW PROJECT TO HELP TACKLE ROOT CAUSE OF FOOD POVERTY
A new pilot project to help signpost people using food banks for more support and get them out of food poverty has been set up. Together with Action Together Tameside and Greater Manchester Poverty Group, the Jigsaw JET team has been involved in setting up the referral tool which has been launched here>> The project helps to establish the reasons for food poverty and to offer our support for people through various support organisations, including money advice, employment support, mental health support, drug & alcohol support and housing. If successful, this pilot project aimed at tackling the root causes of low cost food provision and food banks will be rolled out to other boroughs. “This tool is not just about tackling and getting support for residents to move them out of food poverty; it’s also about maximising their income and helping them rebuild their lives to be self-sufficient going forward. “There are many reasons why people use food support, stemming from sudden loss of work, relationship breakdown, benefits stopping, gambling or other debt problems. “Getting the support to tackle these causes is essential so repeated use of low cost or free food isn’t sustained.” The referral tool will be used by all agencies which refer people into food banks, including Jigsaw hubs team and the Dukinfield pantry.
THE BREAD & BUTTER THING
The Bread & Butter thing are coming to our neighbourhood in Ridgehill, Stalybridge. As part of a new drop off route the Bread and Butter thing are setting up in five new areas across Tameside. Not all have yet been decided but the neighbourhoods of St Peters in Ashton and Ridgehill in Stalybridge have both secured a drop off point. The provision offers surplus food to residents and an affordable price and enables residents to cook healthily on a budget whilst helping to reduce food waste. EID PROVISION PACKS
The Neighbourhood Engagement Team at Jigsaw delivered Eid packs to twenty vulnerable local residents of the Ashton area, in the bid to share the gift of food this Eid and a fantastic way to end the blessed month of Ramadan. The aim was to support families and individuals who are struggling in the pandemic, due to job loss, domestic abuse or other reasons. The food packs included rice, lentils, oil, tins of food, chapattis, tea bags, juice and a dessert. The recipients which included the elderly, pensioners and those deemed vulnerable, were appreciative of our support and contribution. In addition to this we have featured some of our existing food provision in previous issues
including Working with Smallshaw Hurst Children’s Community, Ashton United in the Community and St John’s The Evangelist Church we have opened the new Smallshaw Hurst Pantry Store to support the community in Hurst, Hurst Cross and Smallshaw In partnership with Children’s Centres at Clayton and Gorton we are distributing the Good Food Bag to address children and families in poverty who are struggling in the current climate to provide a healthy balanced diet. We partnered with Buzz Manchester from Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall area on how to make healthy soup using fresh ingredients. The soup ingredient’s along with soup recipes were given to Jigsaw tenants living in the Crumpsall, Cheetham Hill and Newton Heath areas.
FOOD ON OUR DOORSTEP – THRIVING HOLLINWOOD
The Covid -19 crisis has pushed many families into hardship and exposed the severity of the UK’s food poverty problem. The social and economic pressures of the Covid pandemic have been enormous for families on low income, creating a perfect storm of financial hardship, lack of work, children not at school and none of the normal support networks. Families have been dealing with loss of income, struggling to pay for food, utilities, housing, and child related costs. They have been landed with unexpected home-based education and lots of isolation and anxiety. It was clear early on in the pandemic that one of Thriving Hollinwood priorities had to be local food provision, hunger has been a real issue that families have had to dealing with. Thriving Hollinwood have worked in partnership with Family Action, a charity committed to building stronger families by delivering innovative and effective services and support that reaches out to many of the UK’s most vulnerable people. They seek to empower people and communities to address their issues and challenges through practical, financial, and emotional help.
The Food on Our Doorstep (FOOD) programme aims to: Provide regular access to a sustainable supply of food to people at risk of food insecurity Encourage families to access local support services and be signposted to other agencies Increase disposable income for local families to improve life chances and wellbeing Reduce the amount of food being sent to landfill in the UK Food on Our Doorstep is a membership scheme. It costs just £1 a year for a family to become a member. Once they have joined, they can purchase a bag of good-quality food items every week worth approx. £15 for just £3.50! Since the launch on 4th April, the food hub has engaged with over 600 local families, which is amazing! We have local volunteers that run the club on a weekly basis, building confidence and empowering to sustain a much-needed provision. In addition, Regenda has recently donated £100 of non-perishable food items, along with toiletries. We will continue to work in partnership to support this much-needed food provision in Hollinwood. OASIS HUB OLDHAM’S SUMMER HOLIDAY HUNGER PROGRAMME
It’s been lots of fun and games and fine dining at Oasis Hub Oldham this Summer, the Hub team and the Community Volunteers have provided free activities and cooked meals for local families to help combat Holiday Hunger. Four sessions a week have been held at Oasis Oldham and Oasis Leesbrook offering families craft, games, dance, bouncy castles and even a beach themed week with sand pit and donkeys! Two sessions a week have been supporting a group of young people to plan and deliver a social action of their choice. Every session includes an organised physical activity and two meals. Families are being encouraged to achieve their 5-a-day, with a variety of fruit snacks, nutritious cooked meals with side dishes of salads. There have also been opportunities to cook together as a family and design pizzas or wraps using a selection of vegetable toppings and healthy fillings.
We have entertained and fed over 300 people at our sessions so far and taken 210 people on trips, which include a Beach day in Wales and a day at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This has been a great success and enjoyed by all. Families are continuing to enjoy the sessions and the food, and many have asked to take home extra portions for their evening meal as well! FAMILY ACTION – TACKLING HOLIDAY HUNGER
In partnership with Regenda and Onward Housing, Family Action Food Clubs have been running a weekly food pantry out of St Chad’s Centre in Hollinwood, Oldham every Thursday for the local community since April of this year. We have two very dedicated volunteers, Gill and Katie who love to see our families each week and would welcome any new members. Please come on down and take a look at the food club and the exclusive deals we are able to offer our members. During the Summer holidays, Family Action has given us additional funding to provide extra bags for our families with children. These bags contain useful items for the cupboard and food to help out with feeding the children whilst home over the summer weeks. A small activity such as bubble wands, activity books and chalk are included to encourage our families to spend time together Making Happy Memories. We are delighted to be offering the service to the Hollinwood community and the support from Regenda and Onward Housing has been fantastic. We have felt so welcome, Thank You !. We have also thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the local residents and are always happy to have more volunteers. So come along and get involved with your food club.
SOUTHWAY HOUSING TRUST
CHALLENGING FOOD POVERTY
We have found it really inspirational to see what other housing providers and organisations have done and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed to the newsletter over the years. For example, it was reading about Stockport Homes developing their pantries that encouraged us to develop our own ‘Quids In’ food club in 2014. This has become one of our most successful projects and has since expanded to five clubs sited across the Southway area, serving an average of 201 households a week, rising to 266 during lockdown. From March last year due to the pandemic, we moved from collection of food to delivery to member’s homes and external funding we secured allowed us to suspend the membership fee during lockdown. The funding also allowed us to provide nappies to families and enabled us to purchase halal meat for our Muslim members, as this is something we rarely receive through FareShare, our regular supplier. In line with Southway’s commitment to going green external funding also allowed us to purchase two new electric refrigerated vans for the food clubs. This proved invaluable to facilitate the move during Covid to staff delivering food parcels to member’s homes. The clubs are now planning to increase the member’s fee from £2 a week to £2.50 and are also moving towards taking money by Direct Debit rather than staff and volunteers having to handle cash. Westcroft Community Centre, which is managed by Southway, has become a hub for food storage during Covid and acts as a centre for the making up of food parcels for food club deliveries.
SOUTHWAY HOUSING TRUST
We continue to work closely with our local food banks, some of which now offer home delivery, which helps protect their staff and volunteers and helps recipients who have been shielding and can’t collect their food parcels. Moving to the Trussell Trust E referral (online) system has also been extremely helpful as it has made it easy to deal with voucher requests with staff working from home. Codes can then be sent by text to recipients. IMPROVING INCOMES AND REDUCING BILLS
During the pandemic Southway’s Advice Services Team has continued to offer Welfare Rights and benefits support even though home visits have been difficult. In the last financial year the team brought in £2.1 million in additional income for tenants, more than we expected given the challenging times. Last year Southway joined two fuel voucher schemes with other NW housing providers, one coordinated by One Manchester and one by HACT. The schemes intended to help pre payment customers affected by Covid who were struggling to afford energy top ups and were therefore vulnerable to self disconnection. For both schemes we gave out £6,000 worth of vouchers each worth £28 or £49 depending on need and size of household. The system of purchasing vouchers online and issuing a code by text to recipients who then redeem them at PayPoint outlets, worked particularly well at a time when we were reliant on contacting customers remotely. Southway’s Advice Services Team is now using the same system, working with Charis Grants, to supply fuel and cash vouchers to Southway tenants in hardship who have no income. The system is working very well, providing emergency help speedily to many of our most vulnerable tenants. SAVING MONEY BY LEARNING TO COOK
Recently we have seen people like Marcus Rashford publicising the benefits of knowing how to cook to save money and the importance of learning from a young age. Lockdown has encouraged parents to do more at home with their children and cooking has proved to be a popular activity. To continue this interest we are running ‘Lets Cook Together’ sessions at Westcroft Community Centre in Burnage for parents with children under 16yrs. We supply the ingredients and recipe cards are given out for people to take home. Hopefully as more learn to cook from fresh ingredients there will be health benefits as well as financial ones.
TRAFFORD HOUSING TRUST
ACTIVE APPETITES FAMILY SUPPORT FROM TRAFFORD HOUSING TRUST
The Active Appetites project from Trafford Housing Trust is an on-going programme supporting families with food and activities during the school holidays. Launched in 2019, it provides much-needed lunches, hot meals, food hampers and vouchers throughout the year, and has so far awarded grants in excess of £220,000 to local community groups across nearly 50 different projects. The 2021 Active Appetites programme will provide 12,000 lunches and meals for children, 3,550 hampers of food for families and 1,630 activity packs. It is run in partnership with Trafford Council’s ‘Summer of Sports’, which provides activities during the Easter and summer holidays. Support is available throughout Trafford, and families can find their nearest provider by visiting our website. Larry Gold, CEO of Trafford Housing Trust, said: “This pandemic has resulted in an incredibly challenging 18 months for all of us, and particularly for those families struggling with children that have been regularly in and out of school. “With the new term underway it’s vital that we continue to help families to access food during the forthcoming holidays, and by providing grants and teaming up with these great schools and organisations we hope to make this school year a little easier.”
THE POVERTY ISSUE
You can find out more about the work of Greater Manchester Housing Providers by visiting the website www.gmhousing.co.uk or follow them on Twitter for the latest news @GMHousing