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We are extremely pleased to confirm that we have signed a lease on our own premises at the former Victoria Methodist Church on Sussex Road in Southport.
“This amazing building is perfect for our needs.” says CEO Richard Owens “There is space to meet service users for advice and training. It will be our hub for volunteering and donations too.”
The Revd Marie-Ann Kent, superintendent minister of the Southport Methodist Circuit said: ‘We look forward to working with Compassion Acts, in continuing the mission of the church in this new and exciting way.’
We can't wait to welcome people to our new home!
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We are really pleased to announce that our new allotment project – ‘Growing Resilience’ is up and running! The plot is situated off Moss Road in Halsall. It provides an ideal environment for both clients of our Next Steps programme and our volunteers to improve their wellbeing. They will be able to get outdoors, learn new skills and meet new people. All while producing delicious home grown fruit and vegetables. Already we have potatoes, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb growing to name just a few.
We think this is a brilliant opportunity to nurture the local natural environment, increase appreciation of quality, fresh food, and give people a chance to discover a new hobby or reignite an old passion. Any surplus food grown will be distributed to our Food Pantries in Southport, Formby and Banks.
We were also very fortunate to receive a grant from Sefton’s Community Champions Fund, which has allowed us to purchase a new shed and plenty of new equipment for the project. Many thanks to Sefton Council, Sefton CVS and Living Well Sefton.
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In partnership with Churches Together in Formby, Altcar & Hightown, we have expanded our Food Pantry to cover Formby and the surrounding areas.
Every Monday morning, members will be able to go to Holy Trinity workshop to chose from a wide range of items which will then be delivered to their home on a Wednesday.
As with our other pantries, membership is £5 weekly and for this fee members can expect to get up to £20 worth of food and other items.
There will also be a trained adviser at the workshop every Monday to offer support and advice around welfare benefits and debt.
We are really excited to be able to do this work in Formby and look forward to hopefully helping those residents here who are just about managing.
For more information and details of how to become a member please visit Formby Pantry - #compassionacts
If you are interested in supporting this project, either through volunteering or with financial or food donations, please speak to a member of our team or visit our website.
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Compassion Acts has signed up to work with the Philippi Trust so that more of its clients, volunteers and staff can access the mental health support which they need, at a time and place of their choosing.
Compassion Acts runs an evolving web of services which are wholistic and all about preventing poverty and enhancing wellbeing. The most well known is the Southport Foodbank where last year 58,680 meals were distributed to those in crisis.
The Philippi Trust is a national charitable organisation that provides counselling and accredited counselling training. All counsellors are qualified to diploma level and specialise in many different forms of counselling, including family therapy.
“We know we can do more to support the vulnerable people we work with” says Richard Owens CEO of Compassion Acts “that is why we are working with our friends at Philippi to provide one to one services, training for our teams, courses and group work.”
“We are committed to offering counselling that is easily accessible and located in the heart of the community” says Justin Wales of Philippi, “that is why it is great to partner with Compassion Acts because they are in touch with so many people from all sort of situations.”
Already under this partnership Compassion Acts is commissioning blocks of counselling for its clients and there are plans to develop training courses for staff and volunteers and to provide simple and user friendly group sessions around personal resilience and managing stressful situations. This is part of the Compassion Acts new strategy to ‘go upstream’ and tackle the causes of poverty not simply dealing with the consequences.
Pictured: Justin Wales of Philippi Trust with Jess and Richard
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Here at Compassion Acts we are so proud of the partnerships we have with business, schools, churches and community groups. This last few months have been busier than ever!
Just a couple of examples are ASDA Southport who have provided funding for some of our shortage items (see pic), Bates Dairy who have provided milk for our Food Pantry and also eggs for our wellbeing bags recently in schools (see pic). Our friends at Sefton CVS have given us significant funding for household detergents for our clients and some community funding for our allotment project.
Work with us to meet our aims
All very relevant, because today we welcome to the team our new Influencing & Partnerships Manger called Arianne. She will be very happy to talk through creative suggestions for raising awareness or delivering our services in innovative and attractive ways. Email her on firstname.lastname@example.org
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During these unprecedented times, the charity behind Southport Foodbank has been aiming to reach families who have traditionally felt a sense of reluctance to rely on food projects.
An example is that a sample bag has been sent to around 100 families via primary schools locally- those mainly who have recently joined the free school meals system and are naturally unfamiliar with entitlements and options for advice. – including the non-judgmental in-house debt and benefits advice offered by Compassion Acts.
Another example is the emergence of good working partnership working Meols Cop High School on Norwood Road which has been forged over the last 12 months – especially Compassion Acts was able to support Meols Cop’s community food drive in summer 2020 with surplus food stock. A whole pallet of food items from a national wholesaler has been ordered by Compassion Acts for the school to distribute in February 2021 half term.
“We are aware that the need is growing among families” says Richard Owens, CEO of Compassion Acts “this was illustrated by the massive increase in the number of families accessing our services. So we wanted to move resources to the point where its easiest for people, and given the travel restrictions of lockdown, that will be their local school”
This term, after feedback from the school’s pastoral team about the difficulties faced by families in High Park getting to Foodbank sessions, the charity has shortened the process for Foodbank referrals so that the school is empowered to refer and distribute its own on-site Foodbank. The Youth & Community Centre which sits on the school’s grounds have been very supportive also supporting delivering the food to families who most need it.
Mr Parry, Headteacher of Meols Cop said “This pandemic has put the spotlight on so many challenges that our families are facing. It has been valuable to develop working relationships with partners who understand these challenges better than anyone. Through working with Compassion Acts and the team from the Youth Community Partnership we have now not only been able to support in the short term but also explore more long term sustainable support”
As has been widely publicised nationally with campaigns by footballer Marcus Rashford and others, it is school holidays which are particularly challenging for parents. Therefore, Compassion Acts and headteachers of local schools, including Mr Parry are pursuing every avenue of cooperation with Sefton Council and others to see what could happen in the long summer holidays.
• The charity also runs a Food Pantry, which is a club where people pay a contribution to access a choice of food, at nearby Bishop David Shepard Primary School
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We've been so busy getting on with our projects that we haven't had chance to thank our wonderful donors. Well its long overdue and this Valentine's weekend we wanted to share the LOVE!
Without you our wonderful donors, we simply could not do what we do. It is sad that we need to have a Foodbank at all- and in an ideal world there be the need. However we are working hard to also look at the issues which bring people to food crisis in the first place.
During the month of December we received over 13 tonnes of food donations. This is truly staggering and totally unprecedented. This included schools and businesses. Also the community champions who collect in local areas. Thank you
This enabled us to pack, decorate and fill 170 Christmas hampers of additional luxury items for our Foodbank and Food Pantry clients and deliver them in time for Christmas.
We were also blown away by the generosity of people and groups, who opted to make financial donations over the festive period rather than give us food. This is a most effective way to give because it allows us to investing our advice & support team. These are the professionally trained advisers who are present at Foodbank and Food Pantry sessions to help clients with any worries about debt or to benefits.
Just some of the wonderful groups who supported us at Christmas:
St James' Birkdale
Southport Cycling Club
Anonymous individuals : donating between £100 and £1000 . Truly astonishing and very humbling.
ASDA Southport (the ASDA Foundation)
Southport Cycling Club
Running Clubs and many more!!!
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Helping families who need support – that’s what Food Pantry is doing at Bishop David Sheppard CE school, thanks to head teacher Siobhan Bayliff and her staff.
With over 200 pupils, and recognising the needs of the local community, Siobhan decided to repurpose some spare space and help local families just over a year ago. She got in touch with Compassion Acts and a Food Pantry was set up. Since then there’s been a pandemic, so the Pantry, and the school, have had to adapt.
Siobhan said, “Through the pandemic the Pantry has provided food packages, which staff have delivered. Families really appreciated it. A lot of parents have said about Food Pantry, ‘I didn’t realise it was for me!’”
There are now around eight families a week using the Pantry. One family has six children, with four still at home. The mother had been furloughed from the leisure industry but her money hasn’t come through yet. She said, “This is helping a lot, without it we’d be struggling.”
The Food Pantry at BDS School is a partnership between the local church of St Simon & St Jude, the Bishop David Shepperd CofE School and Compassion Acts.
I don’t know what I would have done
Volunteer Hilary Sixsmith said, “I was approached by Andy Liggins, now Vicar at St. Simon and St Jude with All Souls church. We are seeking to serve our local community in a practical way, which the Food Pantry of course does. Jenny and I spent a lot of time setting it up and have now been joined by Keith Knapton and Mo Burnley, forming a viable team of volunteers to keep it going.
“We’ve had people come in who are running out of money and it’s wonderful how much they can get. It’s a practical way of serving our community. There’s such satisfaction in ensuring people have food on the table and are not worrying.”
Volunteer Jenny Pye explained, “It’s really nice to be able to help people in need and offer them something they’re not able to get elsewhere. People have said, ‘I don’t know what I would have done without it.’ We donate our time to this as it’s serving our own community.”
Foodbank is for people in crisis and is limited, but once the crisis passes there is still a need. So at this Food Pantry, members pay £5 a week to access shopping to the value of around £20, which they can (usually) choose themselves.
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Autumn 2020 : Together we can help everyone through this tough time.
From week commencing 5th October 2020 a new timetable across all parts of our town.
Tuesdays 12-2 St Simon’s, High Park. PR9 7BQ
Tuesdays 1-3 St Peter’s, Birkdale. PR8 4BY
Wednesdays 1-3 SNR Baptist Church, Town Centre, PR8 6PU
Thursdays 1-3 Ainsdale Methodist Church, PR8 3NQ
Thursdays 3.30-5.30 Salvation Army, Shakespeare Street, PR8 5AJ
Fridays, 1-3 Lakeside Church, PR9 0LA
Saturdays, 10-11.30, Family Life Centre, Ash Street, PR8 6JH
• For people in emergency food crisis. Before you come along get an e-voucher from an agency such as: Sefton Council, Job Centre, School or health visitors or if you cannot reach an agency, text 07526 897284 and we’ll arrange a personal telephone assessment.
• Our email for enquiries is email@example.com
Southport Food Pantry
Tuesdays, Grace Centre, Princes Street, PR8 1HU
Thursdays, Bishop David Shepard School, PR9 7BZ
• A weekly food club for the ‘just about managing’ costs £5 per week. By referral only. Want to refer someone? Contact our Adviser team firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice & Support
Struggling with Debt? Need help to navigate the Benefit System? Need to chat and receive reassurance?
Text: 07526 897284
You do not need to be a current Foodbank or Food Pantry client to use this service. It is open to anyone.
CAP Debt Centre is also available for people wishing to self refer. Here
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Our meeting was held on Zoom on 4th September 2020. Read our report on the PDF below.
Thanks Sharon. We were here for you and will be for others. We like this uplifting song.