News and Our Plans For The Future:
We have been fortunate to finally secure a long lease on our Street Food Project and Food Store building in Penzance.
Cornwall Council are supporting us with planning/building applications so that we can access areas of the building that are currently unavailable for use due to the presence of asbestos and structural disrepair.
Our long term goal for this premises is to move our food store provision upstairs in order to finally move our Street Food Project meal service off the street and indoors into the warm and dry. We hope that outside of the meal service operating hours, the building can operate as Day Centre for our homeless and vulnerably housed community - a place for social inclusion, a place where they can come to for support and advice and where they can be signposted to other local agencies as necessary.
We have a team of local professionals willing to offer healthcare advice, housing advice and mental health support amongst other services from our building once the building is suitable for use.
Securing a long lease on the building means we now have a greater opportunity in terms of accessing funding which we have otherwise not been eligible to apply for. Despite many funding applications currently closed because of Covid-19, we are optimistic about future funding opportunities and continue to work hard on our plans moving forward.
Thank you for your support.
Growing Links CIC was created in 2013 as an action against food poverty. We wanted to redress the balance between people in our community going hungry despite increased food waste nationally.
In 2015 we launched Street Food Project, a nightly hot meal service created to support our local homeless community, those who are vulnerably housed, as well as families and individuals suffering from poverty.
Our nightly meal service provides an opportunity to engage and support members of our community who often feel marginalised by their circumstances. Over dinner and a friendly chat, we offer support and advice by linking people up to other agencies in the local community.
In 2018 we launched Food Store in direct response to the increasing number of people dependant of food banks in our local community. Our food store has been set up to supply store cupboard essentials, as well as fresh bread and vegetables, to families and individuals in the community around us in West Cornwall (St Ives to Lands End)
In an area where incomes are low and work is often seasonal, many families and individuals are having to choose between paying their bills and rent, heating their homes, or eating.
The effect of COVID-19 has meant we have seen an huge increase for demand across both of these projects. Before COVID-19, we were supporting just over 100 people on a weekly basis, but the first lockdown saw our numbers increase to just over 500 people on a weekly basis.
Our numbers continue to increase weekly as people struggle to continue to put food on the table for themselves and their families. Increased redundancy, reduced working hours, and lack of financial aid for some who fall outside of criteria for Government support means that we are currently now supporting upwards of 700 people a week, with more and more referrals weekly - often from healthcare workers, GP's, social workers, mental health workers and other support agencies in our community.
Increased demand means increased costs. Our ability to continue to operate these much needed services is very much dependant of the financial support of our local community as much as their volunteer time. Our amazing, brilliant, team of volunteers currently offer us in excess of 1400 hours each week.
Our running costs to provide these much needed provisions however is over £3000 per month (over £36000 per year)
We anticipate that this will increase to closer to £4000 per month over the next 6 months (nearing £48,000 per year)
We have been fortunate to secure some match funding from Cornwall Council. The first £5000 pledged through this crowdfunder will be matched by another £5000.
This financial foundation will offer us huge security to be able to continue to deliver these services to those who are most in need.