Through the early stages of the pandemic, generous donations from many individuals including staff members, Councillors and businesses enabled Touchstone to supply food parcels to those most in need and to use this contact to talk to people about their mental health. We would like to thank you all for enabling this essential work to happen.
In the first 25 weeks you have helped deliver 133,623 meals to 720 different people, with over 51% of recipients from the BAME community.
As we move into the winter and the pandemic continues to impact the lives of the most vulnerable, we are able to announce that this good work can continue. Touchstone has received almost £82,000 from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, set up by the Government.
#TouchstoneLovesFood will continue to provide vital supplies of fresh, culturally appropriate food, and mental health support to vulnerable people who are shielding, isolated and unwell. The funding will enable us to help at least 800 people through the crisis and continue to support them as life returns to normal.
Until now the service has been running with the fantastic support of volunteers and redeployment of Touchstone staff. We are now able to employ and train staff who can take the project forward. They will continue to coordinate food parcel deliveries and provide mental health support but they will also have the resources to reach out into the communities so we can find those people that are in desperate need but have not come forward for help.
The communities we work in are diverse and we will be able to offer improved support by employing staff and training volunteers who are of those communities and who speak their language. This support will not only help BAME communities through the crisis but help them to access mental health services and support beyond.
We will also be able to support more volunteers. Volunteers are still vital to food distribution but we would also like to offer peer support to those that need to talk to somebody who has been through similar experience of the issues they face.
If you know somebody who might be in need of support or would like to donate food, volunteer to deliver food parcels or volunteer as a peer supporter, please contact 07917 664151.