Please ignore the donation tiers. Just donate a few pence if that's all you can give. Every little donation helps to feed someone.
Covid-19 means low income Malvern, families that are already finding life tough are now facing a crisis.
Whilst the Government may cover 80% of some salaries, for many the lost 20% means real hardship. For the self employed and others it can be even worse.
In response, Malvern charities, councillors, schools and churches are working together to feed those in need in Malvern due to Covid-19, under the '#FeedMalvern' banner.
- You, the lovely general public donate money to help those in need
- We collect the Gift Aid on your donation from the Government (this will not cost you any extra)
- 100% of all donations go to The Octagon
- The Octagon supply food from supermarkets, that would otherwise go to waste, as well as purchasing fresh produce for those who need it most
We appreciate this is a tough time for everyone, but we can come together and support each other as a Malvern community, so please donate where you can.
PLEASE pass this message to anyone who might donate to #FeedMalvern - we need your help to make people aware of how to help those in our community.
Who we are
The Octagon is the name given to the work and facilities of the Brook Farm Community Centre in Malvern.
The Brook Farm Community Association began in 1997 when it was gifted a community centre from the local housing association. It was a brand new purpose-built facility at the heart of the Brook Farm Estate. The aim behind this project was to provide support and leisure activities for local people, especially those living in the adjacent social housing.
During our years of operation, we have mainly operated in a village hall style. This has meant that generally, sessions have been run by other organisations, by volunteers, or as paid sessions such as, youth and children’s groups, activities for older people and vulnerable adults, and groups for families. In addition, we have also offered hire of our building to various groups and classes. We want to change this to ensure we are meeting the needs of the community effectively.
The needs of our community
When people think of Malvern they often think of the Malvern Hills, the outstanding natural beauty, and it being a place where people holiday or retire to. For the people of the Brook Farm Estate, that is not their reality. While they often identify the area as one they enjoy living in; they face challenges that many people living in Malvern will never encounter. The area of Malvern is a municipality comprised of several villages and small towns. Within this whole area there are two distinct areas of deprivation, Pickersleigh which is a short walk from the Octagon and Brook Farm. These sit starkly against the ostensible affluence of the rest of Malvern. The Indices of Deprivation 2015 places Poolbrook within the top 29% most deprived communities in England. Although the people live in the area surrounding the Octagon may be significantly more deprived than this as this area is made up of neighbourhoods of starkly differing affluence.
Overwhelmingly, people in our community identified activities for young people as the primary need. While other needs did score highly, we have identified work with young people as our priority for three reasons:
- It was the overall highest need with 83% of people saying they thought it was a need
- There are no activities for young people at all within the Brook Farm estate
- Other professionals identified this as the primary need in Brook Farm.
Debt and Unemployment
People in our area are facing significant debt and barriers to employment. Our consultation identified that 65% of the community that debt support was needed and 63% said employment support was needed. It’s worth noting however, only 18% and 21% respectively said they would use this service. There are two potential reasons for this, either that it is a perceived need and people are actually not in debt or under-employed, and that people incorrectly perceive others in the community are, or that people do not feel confident sharing about this personal need. If the former is the case then community events to encourage residents to get to know one another would be beneficial. If the latter is the case, then providing opportunities for people to discuss debt and unemployment in informal settings would be advantageous.
We are aware of plans to start a local debt centre, which we have plans to partner with. As well as offering informal support by way of access to other services.
The difference the Octagon Centre makes
When asked 60% of people said they had been inside the building, and 29% knew someone who presently attended a session in our centre.
78% of people interviewed strongly agree or agree that the Octagon is friendly and welcoming.
81% of people interviewed strongly agree or agree that they are happy that the Octagon is in the area.
As well as continuing to support the work that is currently happening within our centre, we are planning to implement new sessions and services. From our findings we have identified Young People, Debt and Unemployment as the priorities we will seek to address. We will do these initially, through the following services:
Our youth club closed a couple of years ago due to a lack of volunteers, we are pleased to say that we are opening our doors once again. We meet twice monthly and recent local partnerships with means that we are confident we can staff the youth club on an ongoing basis in order to provide continuity to young people in the area. In our consultation this was a key challenge within our community, and we are exceptionally pleased that we will be able to address this need.
We want the Octagon to a place for our whole community and to be seen and used by the community as such. Our Thursday Project is one endeavour to achieve that. Thursday Project has been running for about a year, we have been meeting once a month. We offer a café-style after school drop in aimed at families but welcoming all types of people from the community. The session is fairly informal, includes a light meal, craft activities, games and homework support. Our clothing exchange is also available during this session. We have managed to recruit several extra volunteers in the past few months and we are delighted that we have been able to begin opening on a bi-weekly basis. Our hope is that when we have funding in place for this session, we will be able operate weekly.
Our clothing exchange is open on a weekly basis offering free children clothes to our community. Clothes are donated, cleaned and displayed in our designated space. This is a great asset to our community and we see an average of five families per week.
The Support We Need past COVID-19
We are presently raising funds towards our project costs for our Youth Club and our Thursday Project. We are also in need of a staff member for two days per week to facilitate our development, support volunteers to deliver our services and coordinate our work.
The income we receive from our regular hiring generally pays for the overheads for the building. We currently have funding towards our Youth Club and are in need of £2,548 to enable it to run for the next year and £2,528 towards our Thursday Project.