This year has been tough for many families. Seemingly endless days spent entertaining children, juggling home schooling and working from home – impossible you say? Try to imagine this without knowing how you are going to feed your child.
At the end of May 2020, nearly five million adults in the UK were experiencing food insecurity. Over a million adults received food parcels and 4.4 million relied on neighbours, family, friends and volunteers to help them get food.
Like many housing providers, Irwell Valley Homes has played a part in supporting the communities they serve, and food provision has been a core part of this. Through the Irwell Valley Foundation, we have donated more than £12,000 to food banks across Greater Manchester since the pandemic hit, helping to build their capacity so they can continue to support people as the crisis continues and furlough ends.
We have also been serving free meals for families in need at our community café in Sale. Earlier this year footballer Marcus Rashford challenged the government’s decision to stop food vouchers for families during the school holidays and thanks to his successful campaign over 3 million meals were provided to those in need. Irwell Valley Homes’ community café became one of the delivery partners providing this vital lifeline for families. In partnership with the local support hub, run by 'Our Sale West', and supported by Trafford Council - the café served up hot, healthy, home cooked meals to over 50 families each week.
Ceris Esplen, Head of Communications and Community Investment for Irwell Valley Homes explains: ‘’The cafe offered more than just a free meal for the families, it provided peace of mind at a difficult time. We know people are concerned about many things at the moment, feeding their children should not be one of them. Having access to healthy, home cooked meals over the summer holidays has had a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of the people we have supported.”
Beverley Jones who lives on the estate and runs the Sunshine Café’ has also been volunteering at the local support hub. She was recently honoured by the High Sherriff of Greater Manchester, Eamonn O’Neal for her outstanding contribution to the community during the pandemic.
Sasha Deepwell, Chief Exec of Irwell Valley said “It’s fantastic to see Beverley recognised by the High Sherriff. Her selfless work and dedication to serving her local community is truly inspiring. Sale West is a tight-knit neighbourhood and this award recognises the positive and significant impact on the whole community when local people support one another.”