Food, wellbeing and cost of living support for all

by St Sidwell's Community Centre in Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

Food, wellbeing and cost of living support for all

Total raised £15,139

raised so far

+ est. £819.00 Gift Aid



Help us grow our vital community support: free, nutritious food; 1:1 wellbeing & support sessions, volunteering & more.

by St Sidwell's Community Centre in Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 5th April 2024 we'd raised £14,011 with 87 supporters in 41 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

Everything we're doing is scalable - the more we raise the more support we can offer people. 

We are asking for support to help deliver and grow some of our most important services - creating a more sustainable and consistent service for our community throughout the year.

Every day, more and more people are coming to us for everything from a meal, to a friendly chat, support applying for a job, or help accessing vital services.

In a world where Covid and the cost of living crisis have resulted in more people than ever needing support, as well as other services and organisations closing or changing their offer - we are stepping in to fill this gap. 

To be able to continue to grow our services to meet demand, we need your help.


A busy afternoon at the community centre - art group, knitting club, Italian lesson and a British Sign Language session all happening in our Cafe space!

St Sidwell's Community Centre

Our community centre, affectionately known as Sid's, is a busy and vibrant space in the middle of Exeter. We offer a wide range of activities which are open to everyone and encourage diverse groups of people to work together. We grow fruit and veg in the centre grounds, run English for Speakers of Other Languages Classes, cook up delicious and nutritious grub in our Cafe, bake bread in our Bakehouse, provide space for other community groups and activities, and lots more besides. At the heart of it all, our volunteer programme provides opportunities for people to learn and share skills - and we currently have almost 200 amazing volunteers! Our projects and activities provide meaningful opportunities for a wide group of people to be part of a community, form friendships and learn new skills.

Over the last few years, we have seen a huge increase in the number of people coming to us for all types of support. While we are happy that people feel safe and supported at Sid's, it shows the challenges people are facing at the moment, and lack of support available more generally. The impact on people's mental health and sense of wellbeing from Covid, followed by the strains of the Cost of Living crisis has been huge. 

The support we offer comes in lots of different shapes and sizes. Free, nutritious meals, a friendly face and a chat, applying for work or benefits, and developing skills through volunteering. 

Providing a warm welcome 

Offering a warm welcome to the folk who come into Sid's is really important to us and can be crucial to those who come through the door. With more people than ever coming into the centre and looking for support, we need to allocate more time to helping direct people - whether they need a meal, a warm space to be, a friendly chat or some more in depth support. This is not something we have had dedicated staff time for before, but it will make a huge difference to the experience people coming into the community centre receive, and improve the efficiency of how we use our valuable staff time!


A free art workshop in our cafe 

Nutritious food for all 

At Sid's we've always offered food support - and it is needed now more than ever. We are currently providing around 50 free meals per day to those who are in need of food support - this includes people who are vulnerably housed or experiencing homelessness, as well as refugees and asylum seekers and others significantly impacted by the cost of living crisis. We focus this support on providing meals within our community cafe - it means that people get to eat together with others, which is particularly important for those who live alone, or do not have access to cooking facilities. Enough food and good nutrition is a foundation of both physical and mental health and allows people the energy and headspace to engage in the other support we have on offer. It's also a great way for people to share culture and language.

Your support will help us invest in both staffing and ingredients: more staff capacity will also help us grow the affordable food work of our Cafe, which will bring in more income, and help us subsidise free meals in the future. 


Two volunteers preparing a meal in the Cafe 

Drop-in and 1:1 support sessions

Through our regular drop-in and bookable 1:1 sessions we support people with:

- Wellbeing support: a listening space for anyone who needs a chat and signposting to longer term provision according to people's needs. 

- Employment: searching for jobs, writing CVs, interview preparation

- Benefits: helping people find out their entitlements, make applications or appeals

- Support to access and find mental health services, GP appointments etc

- Other form filling  - everything from making insurance claims to passport applications  

Volunteering opportunities

Volunteering at Sid's is very much about sharing and mutual support. All of our volunteers give up their time to support the community centre, and we find ways to offer support in return.

It's about being part of a community, learning new skills that can be used for future employment or other volunteering, having a routine, participating in meaningful activity, finding feet in a new city or country, practising English and so much more. 

We currently have more demand than we can accommodate in our volunteer programme - your support will help us to continue providing volunteering roles, cover transport costs and free meals for volunteers, work on the development of new volunteering opportunities and provide training and wellbeing activities for our volunteers.


Volunteers learning to make pizza

How you can support

Donations of any size will help us to provide support. If you can't donate right now but would like to support us, please share this page with somebody you think who might. 

  • £3 covers the cost of one nutritious (and delicious!) meal for someone experiencing food insecurity
  • £30 provides an hour of 1:1 wellbeing support (including room hire, utilities, staff time)
  • £150 sponsors a session of our Weekly Drop-in Support, providing ad hoc support for up to 10 participants per session
  • £300 provides travel expenses and a free meal for a volunteer (attending once a week) for a year
  • £500 keeps the lights on for a month and the centre heated so folk can keep warm and dry!
  • £600 purchases a new (robust!) laptop for use during our Drop In support sessions 
  • £1000 provides 5 wellbeing or training activity sessions for our wonderful volunteers
  • £1500 covers the cost of a staff member to provide a warm welcome to all, ad hoc volunteer support, signposting to our other services for 5 hours per day for one month - a better service for those we work with. 



This project offered rewards

£20 or more

Your name on our thank you mural

We'll be painting a thank you mural/board in the community centre with some of our volunteers - and we'll include your name.

£5 or more

Old Chapel Card

Grab one of the beautiful cards that DRLC produced inspired by the stained glass in the Old Chapel.

£10 or more

Invitation to our thank you coffee morning

We'll host a special thank you coffee morning for all our donors to share more about our project and say a big thank you!

£25 or more

Seedling bundle

We've nearly finished building our new greenhouse, and we'll be starting to propagate some seedlings. Grab a selection of veg/salad seedlings to grow on at home.

£30 or more

The Sidwell Street Bakehouse Tote Bag

A tote bag with our Sidwell Street Bakehouse logo.

£30 or more

Sidwella Print

Limited run Sidwella Print

£50 or more

The Sidwell Street Bakehouse or Cafe Apron

Grab an organic cotton apron with one of our logos

£60 or more

Richard Parker print of St Sidwell's 15th Century

Richard Parker print of St Sidwell's 15th Century

£100 or more

Lunchtime treat

Introduce some friends to the community centre. Get a main meal, cake and drink for four people.

£150 or more

One hour family history session

Curious about how to research your own family history - get started with a 1 hour session 1:1 session.

£250 or more

Garden design consultation

A 1.5 hour garden design consultation with our expert gardener. Get help making the most of your garden.

£500 or more

Private bread class

A private baking session 2.5 hours - an introduction to sourdough baking or a more advanced session tailored to your needs

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