It’s taken months and several funding applications to get off the ground, but I am pleased to say I have at last got my wellbeing project for foodbank users in Leicester up and running. I’ve been part of the foodbank / community hub volunteer team since early in lockdown last year, and I’ve had this dream of adding more than just food to what we can offer to support people. I wanted to use my community arts experience to create a programme of activities that support the wellbeing of people who are struggling with poverty, poor housing, insecurity, isolation and many other challenges brought on by or worsened by the pandemic. Volunteering during the pandemic really focussed me on trying to develop arts activities which really impact those who don’t have the privileges and access to the arts that I have.
I’ve now got a small pot of money for some consultation with foodbank users and to try a few different activities to see what people like & want. I’m also working with a local school who will help me create local history guides and walks and add their own touches to the wellbeing packs I plan to give out to those who sign up. Once the weather warms up, I will run some sessions in the foodbank too (it has no heating!) and involve local artists, writers and community practitioners to share their expertise too.
I only have 6 months of funding and I am already doing more than I am being paid for, but I have great ambitions to make this a long-term project and to support more people in the city, not just the foodbank users. I’m working with partners to find additional sources of funding and making use of my extensive funding application experience! It’s been such a great challenge to establish this new way of working and combining my volunteering / community work with paid project development work. I’m really excited to see where this goes and how it works with the community. If you would like to support the foodbank and the work we do, you can donate to our winter crowdfunder here. If you let me know I will ask for your donation to be put aside for the wellbeing work I’m doing.
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Wish you all the luck with your endeavours. I ran until last week a programme called Vinnies Re Sew which was a side project of Vinnies Food bank in Wellington NZ. It was a space for anybody to come and sew either for themselves or for community groups. It ran for four years and was really successful. People loved dropping in and hanging out … learning to sew things out of waste materials supplied by donors or from the charity shop we ran to fund our progammes. Check out the Facebook page. Vinnies Re Sew. Sadly I had a foot op so it has had to stop. We had a team of volunteers support it which was great as they had connections into the community which lead to people on benefit moving into work. That was the real success story of the project was breaking down social and cultural barriers. Community reengaging.
Kind Regards, Caroline