The good work being undertaken by Touchstone Loves Food, run by the charity Touchstone, has been recognised by Barclays, which is donating £100,000 to the project so that it can continue through 2021.
Through the first phase of the pandemic, generous donations from many individuals, including staff members, councillor funds 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.
A spokesman said: “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 people, with over 51 per cent of recipients from the BAME (black and minority ethnic) community.
“This emergency work was able to continue through the beginning of the second phase thanks to a £82,000 grant from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, set up by the Government.”
As winter continues, and preparation for vaccinations takes place, people can be confident that Touchstone Loves Food can continue into the autumn to provide vital supplies of fresh, culturally appropriate food, and mental health support to vulnerable people who are shielding, isolated and unwell. This is thanks to Barclays. In April, Barclays announced a £100m Community Aid Package to support charities that are helping people and communities most impacted by Covid-19.
Alongside a colleague-matched fundraising initiative and the £10m pledged through their 100×100 Programme, Barclays is donating funds to charity partners across the UK, Americas, Asia and Europe to ensure help reaches those who need it most. Touchstone Loves Food was lucky enough to benefit from this fund.
Touchstone said: “This gives us the resources to reach out into the communities so we can find those people who are in desperate need but, for whatever reason, have not come forward for help.
“The communities we work in are diverse and the group 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.
Lee Desborough, Barclays Leeds branch manager, said: “This crisis has had an unprecedented impact across the UK and we know this is an incredibly challenging time for many in the Leeds region.
“By reaching those most in need of support, local charities such as Touchstone have played a vital role in this crisis to date, and no doubt they will do going forward.
“As a proud member of our community, we are doing everything we can for our customers, clients and colleagues, and we hope that our partnership with the Touchstone will allow many others to access the help they need as this crisis develops.”
Touchstone provides mental health and wellbeing services to over 10,000 people annually throughout West and South Yorkshire – mainly to BAME communities and often in partnership with other organisations in the Health and Justice settings.
A spokesman for Touchstone said: “We aim to make the cities we work in more culturally competent and better able to meet the needs of those vulnerable people who live there.”