Meeting a growing need
Narthex Sparkhill will soon open a new food and clothes bank centre that brings all its established services under one roof. This will allow us to meet increasing demand and support more people in crisis. Integral to our foodbank is a new community crisis kitchen, allowing us to provide a nutritious meal to the hundreds of people using our foodbank each month. In our current centre, the kitchen is small and only allows us to make hot drinks. Some of our clients come to us having not eaten for several days and so find it hard to discuss their problems and find solutions on an empty stomach. Providing food will help their wellbeing and will enable us to provide the support they need to work through their crisis.
(Our existing kitchen is just not enough!)
A big vision
We are waiting to move into our new centre, which will open on 2nd May. It is currently a shell and we are going to install office space and storage for which we have already received funding. In addition to this we want to add a community crisis kitchen. This will be in part a social enterprise, providing apprentices with the experience and skills needed to gain employment. We now need funding to buy and install a kitchen and equipment for our community cafe. As well as providing meals, the cafe will produce bread and cakes for our foodbank. Our longer term aim is to sell bakery items to the public thus providing a sustainable future.
(Our new space - just waiting to be filled and be buzzing with activity!)
Providing compassion, support and hope
Our project meets the immediate needs of our clients through the provision of a free meal as they wait for their emergency food parcel. However, this is just the start! The cafe will allow vulnerable clients to relax and socialise with others over nourishing food, helping them feel more connected. Our apprenticeships will provide training, education, employment and credible career paths for a better future. Managed by an experienced member of staff, the cafe will also harness the wealth of volunteers that will include suitable training and support.
What our users have said
"It's been quite a great experience...really, really helpful." David.
"Don't go hungry. they're there to help. I'm so grateful that they helped me." Eric.
Hamid volunteered with us after using the foodbank. Working with us helped him keep active and keep his mind off his circumstances as well as providing people who are concerned for his welfare.
“I am overwhelmed. I didn’t know there was anything out there like this to help me." Anne.
(Our Lunch Club ladies having fun)
What Narthex does
As a charity, we care passionately about our communities and vulnerable people. Our heart is to meet the culturally diverse needs of our neighbourhood, alleviate the effects of poverty and improve quality of life through crisis intervention, access to training, social welfare, recreation and personal development facilities. We have a long-standing respected reputation in the area based on our current wide ranging services including:
- a foodbank offering emergency food supplies
- a clothes bank
- debt advice and help for people in financial crisis
- a resource centre supports refugees, asylum seekers and victims of domestic violence, providing them with clothing, baby goods and small household items
- friendship and companion groups for senior citizens
- a parish nurse scheme supporting vulnerable individuals
- youth mentoring and sports coaching
- drop-ins projects that cater separately for women who are the victims of rape and domestic violence
- a drop-in for vulnerable and isolated vulnerable men.
All this activity adds up to over 25,000 volunteer hours of annual support in addition to our paid staff, catering for an average of 330 individuals and families each week. As a result of our work, we have been recognised with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Services, the MBE for voluntary groups.