Food Bank Update

Plans for 2015 as we reflect on 2014

We are always looking for ways to offer that hand up

The Food Bank is now two years old and at anniversaries it is always helpful to reflect on the past year and also to consider the year ahead. It must be stressed again that the approach we use is to be a hand up and not a hand out to anyone that needs support. This is why the partnership with Sure Start is so important; the bank is part of a circle of support. Going forward we want to find additional ways in which we can support those in need. We don't wish to stay static and only provide food.

Last year we began our CAP (Christians Against Poverty) Money Course at both Sure Start and at Boulton Lane Baptist Church. This was after our own statistics created for the Parliamentary inquiry showed that money issues (including those related to benefits) were the main reasons people have needed support through the food bank. The course helps create a balanced budget and opens the door to debt counselling should the budget not balance. These courses will be run again throughout this year. A further support service we are considering is opening a Job Club, where again the training and infrastructure is provided by CAP. In their words 'CAP enables your church to deliver an effective service to help people step into work, even after years of unemployment. We provide training and ongoing support for your job club to be successful. This includes materials to run our eight-week interactive Steps to Employment Course, covering topics such as identifying strengths, CV writing, and interview techniques. We've designed the course to be an easy and effective way for you to practically equip club members, in a supportive environment that boosts confidence and morale'. Your thoughts are appreciated here as we research and discern whether this is the right step to take. Making use of the seating, crèche and refreshment facilities at Osmaston and Allenton Sure Start to be the base for the club is attractive and could work well for those looking for work and have children with them.

Last year saw many 1000s of food parcels given out. The highlight of the year's giving was a fantastic effort during the two weeks before Christmas where 140 food parcels with gifts for every family we support through Sure Start and Refuge were given out. It included giving specific gifts of nappies, tins of biscuits and clothing - thank you so much. Our prayer for the coming year is that we continue to demonstrate, love, compassion, empathy and let each person and family that is struggling know that they are not alone, we will walk with them.

Mike Lowe