Sheffield S6 Foodbank

by Jayne Franklin in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

We did it
On 3rd April 2023 we successfully raised £1,750 ( + est. £140.00 Gift Aid ) with 23 supporters in 21 days

We're raising funds so we can continue to provide a warm space as we support those in financial hardship in Sheffield.

by Jayne Franklin in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

At Sheffield S6 Foodbank we do not want anyone in our city to go hungry and want people to have a warm space to access wider support around them during a period of financial hardship.

This support will help us to meet the demand for warm spaces, where people can have a warm drink, a trained team that are there to listen and where they can receive support for the challenges they are facing. Due to demand we are increasing our spaces as we respond to supporting those indeed.

With rising costs, particularly in energy, it is vital that we are able to continue to provide this space as we support people in financial hardship with more than just food.

See below for more about what we do... 

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We do this by providing crisis food parcels for those facing financial hardship. We are a local presence and operate from 11 sites across the city. We provide food to over 400 households, that’s well around 1200 adults and children, weekly.

At each site we provide support and advice to address the financial crisis being faced via our trained volunteers and partner agencies who are on site providing support and advice with debt, income maximisation, benefits, budgeting, housing, employability and support with mental health and wellbeing.

Embedded in our foodbanks are:

  • debt support, 
  • Citizen’s Advice, 
  • housing advice, and 
  • support with mental health and wellbeing

These services provide in-person support to help address and alleviate the causes of financial crisis that beneficiaries at our foodbanks are experiencing.

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 S6 Foodbank manager, Chris Hardy

 

Why is our project CRUCIAL?

It is important because people in our city are having to choose between eating and heating.

We exist because some people are very isolated and are struggling alone. This cannot continue.

For over a decade we have been there for the people of Sheffield in hardship and while ever we are needed, we’ll continue to be here.

In 2021 we gave out the equivalent of 1.1 million meals.

We asked our beneficiaries what they valued most about Sheffield S6 Foodbank and many said it was the welcome they receive, and not being judged but supported during this extremely challenging time. We also know that 70% of all those who were asked said that the cost-of-living crisis was having a negative effect upon their mental health and wellbeing.

 

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Some of the Sheffield S6 Foodbank team

What do we do?

The Sheffield S6 Foodbank team has a decade of experience; we know that giving out food parcels is not the whole answer. Our support is about more than food. We provide the support there and then with the challenges people are facing which means that they are having to access our foodbank.

With our on site, face to face support we find that more beneficiaries are accessing this support and are now

  • dealing with their debt, 
  • having a benefits check, 
  • accessing grants that they might be entitled to, 
  • having support to prevent eviction or deal with disrepairs in homes, and 
  • being listened to. 

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In the last 3 months, we have been able to access nearly £140,000 for beneficiaries through support with accessing unclaimed benefits and dealing with some lower-level debts. We have seen almost 20 people become debt free this year too. 

We partner with Citizen’s Advice, Shelter, Christians Against Poverty, Green Doctor, Yorkshire Water to name but a few. We also partner with the people of Sheffield and are grateful for each and every donation made to us! We love people’s creativity and passion to make a difference to those in need.

 

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Recently we have been able to support over 400 households, not just with food but with things like this:

  • A lady who accessed our foodbank whose physical health was deteriorating got support to contact DWP about applying for disability benefits - she had not done this herself and she did not realise it was possible and was unable to make the call herself due to phone issues. 
  • We had a beneficiary turn up at a foodbank session distraught as he had lost his wallet and bus pass. Our volunteers were able to support him to cancel his bank card and get a new bus pass delivered, he was uncertain how on earth he would have dealt with this problem on his own. 
  • A woman turned up to foodbank, her mental health was significantly impacting her, and she had just received an eviction notice, she was distraught, but a volunteer was able to listen to her and ascertain the problem and then refer her and support her to access services on site to help address this issue, resulting in her keeping her tenancy. 

At a debrief with the team of volunteers who answer our phoneline and speak to well over 200 people per week who are experiencing financial crisis, the team said that many more people they are talking to are more sad, embarrassed, and ashamed that they can no longer provide for their families. 

Our phoneline has meant that we have been able to refer them to our most local foodbank to them and encourage them to speak to a volunteer there who can support them with some of the challenges they are experiencing. Our team of volunteers are offering hope and practical solutions to the issues beneficiaries are facing. 

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We are as effective as we are due to the army of local volunteers who bring their experience and time and the partner agencies who provide in person support during the foodbank sessions namely: Citizen Advice Sheffield, SOAR, Shelter, Yorkshire Water, Green Doctor and Sheffield City Council. 

 

What will your donations mean?

Our initial request is for £3000 to help ensure we can continue to have a warm space as we support those in financial hardship.  Whilst the foodbanks help provide emergency food parcels the impact of the food is far greater. 

These warm spaces are where people can have a warm drink, a trained team that are there to listen and where they can receive support for the challenges they are facing. Due to demand we are increasing our spaces as we respond to supporting those indeed.

With rising costs, particularly in energy, it is vital that we are able to continue to provide this space as we support people in financial hardship with more than just food. 

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