Triple C – Christmas Food Pantry

Triple C is a small local charity in Norris Green, a deprived area in Liverpool. We have supported them over the last two years to help with their Pantry scheme that means families in need have a better Christmas by putting good food on their tables. Here what they had to say about “Food Pantry” in 2020 and 2021.

We asked Helen Edwards of Triple C to tell us what they have been doing and this is her report. “Our Children and Families Support Project has been running four weekly groups. We’ve also run a 5-week Baby Massage course for parents with children under 6 months old, a great bonding experience between parent and child and a fabulous opportunity for new parents to connect with others in a small and intimate setting. Little Steps, our group for preschool children and their carers is also up and running and regularly attracts between 20-30 children and their carers each week. It’s been fabulous to run this in our new building and it’s proving to be a huge success. As an extra to Little Steps, this term we’ve also given ‘Little Steps does Dance!’ a run. This is a group for the same age range, but with a dance teacher who does ‘storytelling through dance’.  We’re running this currently but we’ll review how we move forward. We may try something different called ‘Street Dance’ in the new year for older children. Speaking of which, our midweek afterschool group ‘Elevate’ for primary aged children has been running since September, it meets just once a week, but the children look forward to it! Over the summer we also ran a summer playscheme, two mornings each week throughout August. In partnership with another local partner, we’re also offered online family cooking and baking sessions – great fun. As part of this we give out vouchers for families to buy the ingredients, then cook together in our kitchens at home, connected on Zoom!

Older people are at risk – Food Pantry helps

Food Pantry continues to thrive and recently, we’ve had to open our waiting list again, seeking to respond to the many families in need. The removal of the Universal Credit top up has made a significant difference and we’re seeing more vouchers also being presented at our two Foodbank Distribution Centres. At the Food Pantry we’re getting used to having around 70-80 families booking in for food each week, this model is about addressing food insecurity, with £3.50 paid each week for a top up shop of a value of around £15. It was to this area of work that you contributed last year. We’ve also been able to get three local activities for older people established, although one is just in transition! Stroll in the Park had been running each Monday morning, gathering older people for a stroll around Norris Green Park, sometimes with a stop for a cuppa. With the weather becoming more autumnal, even wintry, the group moved to gather in a local sheltered housing complex, meeting with residents and others for a cuppa and some activities. This is the programme that’s in transition so we’re waiting to see how it goes and whether it’s appropriate to widen the advertising and invitation to a bigger group. The two other programmes are open to all. The first is a weekly ‘Memory Lane Café,’ a simple café basis (especially as we’re still running with Covid restrictions), serving basic refreshments and including time to get together and chat and often a free game of bingo! The other initiative is now called 55 Alive and is a weekly activity-based group, varying what’s on offer from arts and crafts to armchair based games and chat. We’re also lining up a range of community-based speakers, including the fire brigade, debt advice and community nursing.  It’s an active and growing group. We’re also running larger gatherings for older people. We had our first last month, with a visit from local historian and entertainer Ken Pye. We welcomed about 60 people to the event and served hot drinks and cakes. Our next was in December, when we welcomed a local band along, The Waltones, when we served mince pies and hot drinks, oh and a glass of sherry too! All these activities for older people are currently being led by our volunteer team, as our Older Persons Community Worker finished at the end of last November, having been poorly for some time. She made the decision to resign and we’re currently advertising for a new worker to start in the new year. As a charity, we also continue to run our free Debt Advice service and are seeing an increasing demand. In addition to the reduction in UC, we’re anticipating a difficult winter ahead due to the rise in fuel costs and utility bills. It’s a very difficult time for local people, who are struggling to make ends meet and for whom the times just seem to get more challenging. We are currently seeking funding to extend our Children and Families Project. As well as working towards appointing a new Older Persons Worker, we’re also looking to appoint a new lead for our C&FP in the new year and maybe an assistant. Our work in this area has grown, as has the partner work with Christ Church and we’re reviewing and reshaping our staffing structures, aims and provision. Our current assistant stepped down at Christmas, due to family commitments, but will be involved as a volunteer. We are keen to secure the funding, knowing there is significant need amongst the families we work with and especially in our work with preschool children where provision is thin on the ground in the area.”

We are discussing with Helen Edwards how we can help in 2022 particularly with their older communities. Loneliness is a huge challenge in most areas and for all age ranges but is particularly acute in poorer parts of our country. Simple actions can have a big impact.