Food projects helping vulnerable residents during Covid-19 and beyond
Volunteers, groups and charities have come together to support those living in the Townsend area of Bournemouth, who need food during the coronavirus pandemic.
Accessing food during this time can be difficult for a variety of reasons. From older, vulnerable residents who are self-isolating, to families and individuals who are struggling financially and those who may have limited cooking facilities or know-how. There are also keyworkers in need of extra support due to their lengthy or unsociable working hours.
Townsend Community Association is a well-established local charity running the community centre and a range of local projects including a community fridge and community garden growing fruits and vegetables.
The fridge has made a few changes to how it would normally operate but continues to help feed local people whilst also reducing food waste. Surplus food donated by shops, businesses and individuals would normally be available for people to help themselves from the fridge found inside the community centre. However, since the start of lockdown a list has been created of local people who have requested help with accessing food. The fridge project is now supporting people by making up food parcels and delivering these to their doorstep.
In addition, this project has been extended with volunteers also delivering hot meals once a week. The meals are cooked in the recently refurbished community centre kitchen by a couple who are local residents. One of the residents is a former chef and they put themselves forward to help their neighbourhood during Ramadan recently.
Townsend Community Association continues to work closely with a range of charities, groups and local businesses. Some of the organisations providing additional food support include:
- Hope for Food providing a regular supply of surplus food for the community fridge.
- The Friendly Food Club, providing 16 Townsend families with weekly ‘cook bags’ containing ingredients and easy to follow recipe cards.
- The YMCA Townsend Children’s Project distributing cook bags to families that would normally attend their youth club sessions.
- Jewell Academy has identified almost 25 families who need help and staff have been using the school’s minibus to deliver food parcels to vulnerable pupils.
- Pizza Hut, a regular supporter of the community fridge, is now providing hot food twice a week, delivered by volunteers to 10 local households in need.
Anne Melly, a Townsend Community Association trustee, said: “Townsend has always had a thriving community spirit but one of the up-sides of the pandemic is that we have formed some even stronger relationships. Not just with charities and businesses but amongst residents too. The amount of people who are volunteering and helping their neighbours is just brilliant to see. Thank you to everyone.”
Councillor Vikki Slade, Leader of BCP Council, said: “We are facing a growing hidden hunger and food insecurity issue, which is further compounded by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily there’s a fantastic network of agencies out there providing amazing support to vulnerable individuals and families in their communities. The principle behind our ‘Together We Can’ community response is to nurture this goodwill and ensure it is fully supported.”
Find out more
Townsend residents can find out more about the local support available via the local Facebook group.
Residents who are not online or those living elsewhere in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area who need food or other vital support, can contact the council’s Covid-19 helpline on 0300 1237052.
Other community fridge projects
Community fridges are run by charities and volunteers in Townsend (inside the community centre), Boscombe(inside the library) and Branksome (inside the library). Since the temporary closure of these sites, fridge projects have continued by adapting their service to deliver surplus food donations to families and individuals in need.