Survival plan for the homeless & vulnerable

by Samantha Hammond in Barnsley, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 22nd July 2020 we successfully raised £5,000 with 75 supporters in 41 days

Urgent supply of food and support to our members, the vulnerable, and homeless following the closure of our local community facilities.

by Samantha Hammond in Barnsley, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

Given the need for food and supplies for the vulnerable and homeless even before the Covin-19 pandemic and the massive increase in urgent enquiries since lockdown, we see this as much more than a short-term project. As a rapidly growing independent charity governed by local people, raising all our funds independently, Local Mencap rely solely on our staff, members, and volunteers to keep the organisation going. With the additional funding, we will ensure that LMB will not only be able to provide a safe and reassuring environment for our members to return to, but that with this new initiative we can extend further assistance to more vulnerable people in our community who desperately need help.

As a result of Covid-19 we urgently need to adapt the way we provide support for both our members and the vulnerable and homeless in the local community quickly and effectively, both by distributing food parcels and providing direct mental health support. We also need to support a return to normality as they all emerge from lockdown.

Our users would normally attend daily activities at Local Mencap Barnsley facilities, where they would get a nourishing meal (taking into account their complex allergies and other dietary requirements), whilst interacting with an excellent and experienced support network. By arranging parcels of food and supplies and visiting in person, we can not only ensure the users have nourishing meals but, equally importantly, we can use the opportunity to check their mental and physical wellbeing. The parcels would be made up of food donated by supermarkets and fresh meat and dairy (which will be purchased by Local Mencap Barnsley) and will also contain essential supplies such as toiletries.

We are confident this can be organised in a safe manner using social distancing and masks during collection, delivery and visits. Local Mencap Barnsley have a good track record in managing projects and individuals capable of making this happen. To date we have been delivering on a limited scale and have also been feeding the homeless and other vulnerable groups who have experienced long delays in receiving food from official sources.  However, the charity’s reserves have now been exhausted. In lockdown, and even post lockdown, we envisage difficulties persuading members to return to their normal way of life. Even leaving their home will be traumatic for some of them.  To overcome this, Local Mencap Barnsley aims to provide a door-to-door minibus service using the Mencap Minibus.   This will give members the confidence to return to Local Mencap Barnsley activities and their familiar community in the knowledge they are safe and secure and can avoid the anxiety and stress of using public transport.

Our aim is to stop people going hungry, manage their mental health, stay in touch and return safely and confidently to the community following lock-down.

As a charity, Local Mencap Barnsley have worked hard to build excellent relationships with local shops and major supermarkets such as Tesco, Aldi , Jacks, Asda, Marks & Spencers and Lidl stores. We have agreements in place to collect food on a daily basis, that would otherwise be thrown away and end up in landfill. This is not only beneficial for the environment but has enabled us to provide a healthy daily meal to our members and extend our service to hand out food and supplies to the vulnerable and homeless who regularly ask for, and need our help on an urgent basis.

Food donations have been especially appreciated as local drop-in centres have unfortunately closed down due to lack of funding which has left the vulnerable and homeless with very few options. Referrals by Social Services and the Homeless Alliance require eligibility checks and a three-week process during which no food and support is supplied.  Both of these service providers are aware that Local Mencap Barnsley have no “red tape” and that we can support the vulnerable person immediately. We are also aware that that Vulnerable Families could benefit through referrals from local schools.

Click on the following link to hear Lisa from Tescos talking about Local Mencap Barnsley: 

Local Mencap Barnsley have a network which can reach significant numbers of people quickly and a track record of successfully managing urgent projects as seen below:

Who are we? 

Local Mencap Barnsley is a small but rapidly growing independent charity governed by local people and which raises all funds independently. Our role is primarily to provide localised social facilities and activities, to encourage inclusion, and reduce isolation within the community to those with learning disabilities of all ages. We also ensure people with a Learning Disability and their families and carers are listened to, understood and are included as equal citizens in Barnsley. We aim to help them develop skills and to gain meaning, and confidence in their lives.

Local Mencap Barnsley are a passionate organisation committed to supporting adults with learning difficulties.  Our purpose-built premises in the centre of Barnsley offer spacious activities areas, catering facilities, a modern “Changing Place” facility and a state-of-the-art Sensory Room, designed to suit all ages and disabilities. A wide range of daily activities Monday to Friday includes music, cooking, a hugely popular drama group, twice-weekly social evenings and much more.  Most importantly, Local Mencap Barnsley aims to provide a safe, stimulating, warm and welcoming community for adults with learning disabilities and their carers!

How is the money being spent?

  • To provide quality food parcels (a typical parcel would contain fresh meat and dairy products combined with food donations from local shops and supermarkets - pasta, tinned food etc
  • Essential fuel, PPE and admin costs
  • Provision of minibus service for a minimum of one-month post-lock-down for the safe transport of members to and from Local Mencap

Thank you from all of us at Local Mencap Barnsley...

 ...we really appreciate your ongoing support!

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