In response to the impact of Covid-19, housing association Catalyst set up a ‘Coronavirus Voluntary Sector Support Fund’ to help small charities and voluntary sector organisations continue to support their communities, and has awarded £1,000 to Luton Foodbank.
Luton Foodbank provides support to people who are experiencing poverty and isolation who need access to food and advice. Started in 2013, the foodbank is an award-winning not-forprofit community benefit society that supports local people referred to them through an agreed network.
As well as providing nutritionally-balanced and culturally-appropriate food free of charge, the foodbank helps people in hardship or distress and puts them in touch with other specialist services. Typically, the foodbank prepares and delivers 7,000 food parcels in the Luton area between May and September. Since lockdown and social distancing measures were introduced, the foodbank has seen an even greater demand for their services. The £1,000 grant from Catalyst has enabled them to employ a Warehouse Officer to help the team manage the increase in demand while working safely.
Houghton Regis-based Aldwyck Housing Group merged with Ealing-based Catalyst last year and the group has many residents living in Luton. The Catalyst Communities team works closely with community partners and charitable groups across London and the homes counties to help support residents and their families.
Catalyst’s Director of Community Investment, Sahil Khan, said: “We set up the fund to help charities and community organisations to continue to deliver their vital services during this unprecedented time, and to support people who are most at risk during prolonged periods of isolation. The fund is open to organisations working in our neighbourhoods that are supporting those with low and insecure incomes, young people, older people, vulnerable adults, and those experiencing mental ill-health. Groups can apply for up to £2,000 to help cover costs such as staffing and volunteers’ expenses, equipment and general running costs.
“We were delighted to award £1,000 to Luton Foodbank to help with the cost of additional logistics and stock management so they can continue to support to the local community during these especially challenging times.”
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