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Support from BCP Council and Dorset Community Foundation helped to sustain community food providers over winter months

Following the launch of the Household Support Fund scheme in late 2021, the community food provider funding portion of this programme was delivered by Dorset Community Foundation’s Living Legacy Fund on behalf of BCP Council.

The grants which were allocated to organisations were used to improve access to food support and fund projects around food skills initiatives and provision. In total, £112,000 in funding was allocated and 16,221 residents were supported across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Bournemouth Foodbank was one of the organisations who were allocated funding, which allowed them to continue to offer their essential services to residents over the winter months, as well as meet the increased demand over this period.

The organisation said: “Thank you to DCF for administering this grant. We are very grateful to have received this grant from the BCP Winter Food Support Fund as it was much needed this year to support the most vulnerable in our community”.

One of the pilot projects which was made possible by the funding included the opening of a ‘safe space’ café by the Poole-based Waste Not Want Not charity. This project is providing hot meals for vulnerable residents and giving those experiencing isolation a chance to engage with others in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Erika Sloper, Charity Project Manager at Poole Waste Not Want Not said: “The grant has helped in so many ways. We managed to make up 104 festive hampers filled with mince pies, tins of chocolates, Christmas puddings, yule log and biscuits, along with daily essentials such as tinned meat, fish, custard and soup. Many of our members become very anxious at this time of year, so the benefit to them by offering a free festive food parcel means that they have one less thing to worry about. Every child also got a present to open on Christmas morning and putting a smile on their faces is priceless.

“To see so many of our members enjoying a coffee and a natter in our coffee shop has made us immensely proud. Smoothie-making courses and board games have been set up to help reduce mental health impacts and loneliness over the winter months. Some members have offered to volunteer and others have met new friends.”

Dorset Community Foundation director Grant Robson said: “We are pleased to be working with BCP Council again and very proud that it has chosen to use our expertise and experience to ensure this money makes the greatest impact in our communities. The grants we have awarded have made a real difference to families and individuals who have struggled over the winter and given the wonderful groups we’ve supported the resources to keep going at what was a very tough time.”

Councillor Karen Rampton, Portfolio Holder for People and Homes, said: “We would like to thank Dorset Community Foundation for continuing to work with us to support those in need. The help which they have provided to key organisations who are doing excellent work in our area has allowed creative and effective new methods of improving access to essential services to thrive.

“The pilot schemes which have been funded throughout the pandemic have made visible differences to the lives of those experiencing financial difficulties and have helped many of our most vulnerable residents to feed themselves and their families over the winter period.”