A Sheffield food bank has created an online fundraiser to raise £3,000 in three weeks for warm spaces after it was accepted by a funding scheme.
The S6 Foodbank is benefiting from the new Co-op ‘warm spaces’ match funding programme which allows groups to apply for grants of up to £3,000 on Crowdfunder and doubles the amount of money the groups raise over the three weeks.
The £1million project is aiming to give a helping hand to local community groups looking to provide warm spaces over winter as people navigate rising energy costs.
According to S6 Foodbank, its warm spaces are places where people can have a hot drink with a trained team present to listen and give support for the challenges they are facing. It applied for the scheme in its bid to raise money in response to an increase in demand.
Alison Wise, the communications lead for S6 Foodbank, said: “Pre-pandemic we were supporting 150 people a week, so a huge growth, but we’ve kind of been at that level now for a good six to nine months.
“Now typically the food bank year for us after the cost of living crisis kicked off would be lower need in the spring and summer as obviously people are having to spend less of their money on heating and lighting and all that stuff, but our demand didn’t dip at all during that period so it’s just been stubbornly high for a very long time now.
“Our concern is that usually our numbers go up by around 20% every winter anyway, so we are kind of anticipating having another several thousand people to support.”
Currently, the S6 Foodbank operates from 11 sites across Sheffield and provides food to over 400 households, which is around 1,200 adults and children, weekly.
Rebecca Birkbeck, director of Community and Member Participation at Co-op said: “Launching this funding boost will help groups keep their lights and heating on as they bring communities together to keep warm in the coldest months of the year– increasing overall wellbeing. It may also mean people don’t have to choose between accessing food or heating this winter.”
According to Co-op, this funding comes as a welcome boost, with insight from more than 1,600 local community causes across the UK showing that nearly two thirds of projects have experienced a shortfall over the past 12 months.
Additionally, over a quarter of community projects said they were considering having to reduce services as a result of shortfalls in funding, whilst a tenth of local projects have already closed or reduced services.
Ms Wise said: “We don’t want to reduce the amount of food that we are able to give out, we never want to have to do that, but I know that there are a lot of foodbanks, smaller ones, who are really struggling, who have got empty shelves and donations have just fallen through the floor. I don’t know what people are doing in those areas.”
The S6 Foodbank has corporate supporters which host fundraising events and donation drives but they are hoping to increase the amount of cash donations from the public in order to buy more food in bulk and maintain warm spaces.
Ms Wise said: “Our worry is that obviously there will be people who are able to donate now perhaps £5 a month or the odd tin every time they go food shopping and actually their budgets are so squeezed now that they are only just able to cover their own costs.
“There ultimately will be people who are no longer able to support us and that’s just the reality. I guess our ask is of the people who are still in a position who are still able to support us to please do so, because demand is only going to increase over the winter months and we need to make sure we can support everybody adequately.”
You can find the fundraiser by clicking here.