Community sector provides rapid response to food insecurities

Voluntary Sector organisations from the South West launch a report revealing the impact of collaboration on vulnerable communities

Food insecurity has been on the rise in the UK for several years. Many issues surrounding it have been exacerbated by the pandemic. For many people living with food insecurities, things are about to get worse. The £20 top up to Universal Credit is set to come to an end in October, coupled with the end of furlough. A group of voluntary sector organisations collaborated to commission a report, examining food vulnerability. This is particularly prevalent in Cornwall, which is the most deprived area in the south west region.

The Food Insecurities Report, completed by Rose Regeneration demonstrates the importance of collaboration in the pandemic. Food insecurity provides a lens through which to understand a wider range of impacts linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, food insecurity demonstrates the role that the voluntary and community sector (VCS) has played in the pandemic – not just in helping to provide food support, but in linking this support to mitigate the effects of the broader social and economic impacts on local communities. Many of the issues identified in this report and the response to them predate the pandemic, which has brought them to a head. A huge civic effort, organised at the local level, has demonstrated the significant capacity of local people to solve big challenges when faced by a crisis without undue direction and, in some cases, with very little external funding.

The report was prepared for the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership (VCSEP SW) and is intended to support them move away from emergency and towards recovery, in a space where ‘business as usual’ will not be an option for many communities.

Read the full report here: http://roseregeneration.co.uk/food-insecurity/

Key features of lived experience

· An inability to build and draw on financial safety nets – low-paid work, zero hours contracts, mixed self-employment/salaried work, and/or work in unpredictable sectors left people financially exposed under Covid-19

· Caring responsibilities which limited income potential and raised outgoings – particularly but not only for women and single parents.

· Health and mental health challenges – 70% were experiencing chronic health issues prior to Covid-19; 65% long-term mental health issues.

· Elimination of social food sharing – many had previously counted on meals with others (e.g. a family Sunday roast) to stretch their weekly food budgets.

· People struggling to afford supermarket delivery fees – e.g., if isolating; c.£4-£6 for grocery delivery is a big percentage of a £25/£30 weekly food budget.

· Reduced access to ‘budget’ shops and not being able to ‘bargain shop’ – the inability to reliably access preferred supermarkets increased costs.

· Increased competition for ‘value’ and ‘budget’ brands – cheaper items were often already taken by others, leaving only expensive branded items.

· Price increases by shops which charged more for basics when Covid-19 hit.

· People relying on others to help with food shopping – but feeling too ashamed to dictate brand choices or supermarket choice, raising spend

A positive example is the Cornwall VSF Food Access Alliance. The Alliance has created a networking forum for food banks, community larders, distribution orgs and community growers to collaborate. This level of collaboration ensures that support (through donations and food surplus) is maximised and redistributed to those people/communities where there is demand. Insights from on the ground help contribute to the overall Food Security strategy. Cornwall VSF shares this with multiple stakeholders locally and nationally to advocate for a more sustainable food strategy for all.

Helen Boardman, CEO of Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum said, “The response to the pandemic here has been phenomenal. There are possibly too may community organisations to mention, for fear of missing some out. What these demonstrate is that it an emergency, we can rely on communities.”

Key findings of the report:

1. The voluntary and community sector has played a central role in the local food response to the Covid-19 crisis

2. Whilst the nature of the response in each locality reflects the geography, demographics and capacity of each area, there are key common themes

3. The Covid-19 crisis has allowed new approaches to develop quickly, with VCS organisations often having increased agency to make decisions and shape approaches within cross-sector partnerships

4. The challenge now is to ensure that local food strategies move effectively from emergency response to providing sustainable support that links to wider agendas around poverty, health, and local sustainability.

5. Future approaches should be based on a clear, evidenced understanding of need at a local level

Robyn Knox VCSEP Director said, “This report supports the vital inclusion of voluntary and community sector organisations in building a resilient society. It also highlights how existing social inequalities can so easily be exacerbated in an emergency situation. We hope to see more inclusion of the voluntary and community sector in local resilience building and in influencing and co-creating positive health outcomes for all.”

 

Notes to Editors

Background information

VCSEP South West

The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership is a partnership of local and national voluntary and community sector organisations, formed in response to learnings from several national crises in 2017. It was recognised that a more coordinated response amongst the voluntary and community sector was needed when responding to an emergency and the Emergencies Partnership is supporting the sector to make this a reality.

The Emergencies Partnership provides space and opportunity for 230 local and national voluntary and community organisations to come together and build connections that will ensure support reaches those in need more effectively.

The South West alliance is comprised of • Voluntary Action Swindon • Plymouth Octopus • Reading Voluntary Action • Gloucestershire VCS Alliance • Spark Somerset • West of England Rural Network • Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum • Community Action Network: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

With local lead liaisons in:

1. Bristol, Bath NE Somerset

2. Cornwall

3. Devon, Torbay & Plymouth

4. Dorset/ Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole

5. Gloucestershire

6. Somerset

7. Swindon and Wiltshire

8. Thames Valley

Cornwall VSF

Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF) is the voice of VCSE organisations in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Our aim is to work with others to create a thriving and effective voluntary sector.

G7 Summit

For more information, please contact Laura Barnes at Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum

Laura Barnes

VCSE Communications, Marketing and PR Officer laura.barnes@cornwallvsf.org

Tel: 07990633615

Uniform Shop Has No USP

There is nothing for sale in the Children’s Uniform Shop Plymouth (USP) which is up and running again for a second time.


Launched last summer, more than three thousand school uniform garments were provided free-of-charge to about four hundred families. Now, the USP has made a welcome return. The project, which is jointly run by Plymouth Vineyard Church and Redeemer Church Plymouth, has opened up in the former Lawson’s shop (near M&S) until August the 26th for people to drop off donations and chose children’s uniforms for the new school year.

The shop will be open between 10am & 3pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, it is also being supported by some of Plymouth’s city councillors enabling children to receive (new) pencil cases and rucksacks.

Donations of clothing will be welcomed.


For more information visit the shop or www.uniformstoreplymouth.co.uk

Pioneering one-stop-donation-shop helps city provide united response to COVID

The Aid Redistribution Centre (ARC) radically improved the way donated food is being collected from supermarkets; stored and redistributed across Plymouth. Since then it has effectively and efficiently provided more than seventy tons of food to local charities and causes.

Acting as a central point from which food could come and go, it has changed the way local food banks; community projects and voluntary organisations work for the better.

The ARC has evolved rapidly and today it’s not just about food: more than sixty diverse organisations are being supported, for example, the (newly established) Hygiene Bank with toiletries; the Uniform Store with clothes for school children and Bramble’s Pet Food Bank with… pet food!

Meanwhile, as word has spread about its role, donations are arriving every day from all manner of businesses, such as, sun cream & sleeping bags from Service Design Solutions Engineering Consultants; kitchenware from national retailers and eggs from local farms. Ayshea Cross, the Plymouth Food Aid Coordinator, says all donations are passed on;

“”The challenge is to be creative, we recently had, for example, thousands of black flower buckets donated by the Coop. The Arc gave several hundred to gardening projects supporting people with loneliness and isolation and sent loads more to refugees living in Greece via a Plymouth-based humanitarian charity OHOB.”

An unexpected outcome of the project has been the willingness of people to work together. For example, drivers from the Co-op, en route to the ARC, are now stopping off at Marsh Mills and delivering Sainsbury’s donated goods as well as their own.

Furthermore, as project volunteers coming to the ARC are finding out about the other organisations so donations are being passed directly between the groups, speeding up the process.

“Blankets donated by Suited to Help, came into the ARC,” says Ayshea “and then our volunteers immediately passed them on to the volunteers from the soup run who were in the ARC to collect food for that night’s soup run. Several hours later, those same blankets were spotted out on the streets with a person who was homeless.”

The evolving collaboration has also led to changes across the voluntary and community sector with the ARC now acting as a one-stop-donation-shop for organisations; businesses and charities to both give and receive. This, in turn, has had a significant impact on the sector saving time and money and enabling volunteers to do what they do best – supporting local people.

“Being able to offer a whole range of items to a whole range of projects makes for greater efficiency. A lot of those smaller grassroots groups have been started by individuals who saw there was a need for helping people and just got on with it; connecting in with the ARC enables all of us to work better and support more people.”

The ARC has rapidly established itself as a fundamental part of the city’s solution to supporting people through COVID and triumphed as a centre of excellence for efficiency and connectivity.The ARC has received funding from the National Lottery and the Government-funded COVID Grant. The project is supported by Food Plymouth CIC; The Plymouth Food Aid Network and Plymouth City Council. To find out how you can support or to donate items, contact ayshea@foodplymouth.org.

Keyham Support

We are shocked and saddened to hear of the incident in Keyham last night. If you need support today, there are several community safe spaces including Ford Primary School, St Thomas Church (Royal Navy Avenue), St Marks Church (Cambridge Road), Sunflower Women’s Centre and Plymouth Methodist Central Hall (Admiralty Street).

Counselling & support services are available in person at the Jan Cutting Healthy Living Centre or at these phone lines:

• Victim Support: 0808168911

• Samaritans: 116123

• First Response Service: 08081968708

• Livewell Southwest: 0800 923 9323

• Sunflower Women’s Centre: 01752 977614

• The Zone (for young people aged 13-25): 01752 206626

• Text support: text SHOUT to 85258

• Bereavement Counselling Service: 01752 349769 (leave a message and all calls will be returned

• Torpoint Counselling (Emma Thornton): 07961017194 

• Childline – 0800 1111

• NSPCC Helpline – 0808 800 5000

• Together for Childhood – 01752 422 577

• Keyham Green Places – 01752 260323

Please get in touch if you would like us to share your own offers of support or if there’s anything else we can do to help your efforts. You can also reclaim any associated costs through £250 a POP: https://www.plymouthoctopus.org/funding/250-a-pop/

From Together for Childhood Plymouth:

Together for Childhood’s thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of everyone affected by this week’s tragic events in Plymouth.

Childline is always here for any young person – no matter their worry or concern. And our helpline is also here to offer advice to adults.

Online, there is advice on processing death and anxiety through www.childline.org.uk as well as further support for parents via www.nspcc.org.uk.

Our Together for Childhood Team remain available should anyone wish to talk to a practitioner if you are feeling upset, afraid or anxious.

My Support Space is an online resource designed by Victim Support with a selection of resources and suggestions for those who are supporting someone affected by harm https://www.mysupportspace.org.uk/moj

From Suited to Help:

Suited to Help will offer any support we can for immediate family members and those close to those who have sadly lost their lives in such awful circumstances. You can call us to discuss this further at 07752 719185.

From Plymouth Centre for Faiths and Cultural Diversity:

As with many other Faith communities in the city, we would like to be there should individuals wish to remember loved ones with prayer and reflection. We can make it time appropriate to the interested parties. Contact Arezoo at Arezoo.Farahzad@denhams.tv.

From Art, Craft & Laughter:

We want everyone to know that we’re here for them. Whatever it might be. A place to talk or a place to feel safe. Give us a call on 07880 327022.

From Jeremiah’s Journeys:

This week we will be focusing on supporting children and families in Keyham in the aftermath of the tragic events of last week.  To do this we will be opening our helpline from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm to talk to anyone who would like to talk about how to care for themselves and their children after a traumatic event or bereavement. We can be contacted on 01752 424348 or via email at info@jeremiahsjourney.org.uk.   Two of our Clinical team will also be in the Keyham, at Ford Primary School every morning to offer support and information to any families who would like someone to talk to.  We’ll be at Ford Primary School if you want to come along and speak with us. A few ideas for supporting yourself and children and young people can be found on our website: https://jeremiahsjourney.org.uk/ideas-to-support-your-child-following-recent-events/

From Plymouth & Devon Racial Equality Council:

PDREC are happy to be contacted by any one from Black, Asian, and Ethnically Diverse communities who has been impacted by last night’s tragic incident and feels that they need any support. If we are not the right organisation, we will refer people on to the relevant organisation. Contact Julie on 07552784245.

From Exim Dance Company CIC:

Exim Dance have today sent out an email to our database of young people’s parents/guardians to say we can provide additional 121 & group counselling sessions led by external professionals at our premises, Oxford House Creative Hub and our team members are on hand to provide wellbeing sessions/social hours wherever required. 

From Cognivity CIC:

If anyone affected would like to join our Arts As Theraphy (Creative Wellbeing Programme), it’s a weekly group which offers the arts & creative forms as a support to help those managing mental health concerns. Additionally, Eileen (Specialist MH Facilitator /Coach) is happy to work with individuals to support trauma/recovery/MH aspects.

To find out more, contact Eileen on 07742312828 or eileen@cognivity.com.

From Keyham Green Places:

A leaflet with details of what we are offering is enclosed and our website link is below.

Keyham Green Places offers counselling, a place to chat and a garden to relax in 163 Renown St, PL22DT 01725 569340. https://www.cropskgp.org.uk/

We have been and continue to offer supporting services to those living in Keyham and have been here since 2002.

Of particular note is our foodbank that has been in operation since the start of the pandemic and now serves over 150 people a month most of those in the PL2 area but also anyone that has asked in Plymouth were we have been able to deliver to them.

We have a trained counsellor on Mondays from 10am to 3pm ready to listen to anyone affected by the recent tragic incident in our community.  They can sit in our gardens in a quiet spot or talk to someone that will listen.

We have talked to BBC radio Devon who are promoting those helping here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p086t1zp

Contact them to add anything missing.

If you are in a position to help and have something that you’d like us to share, get in touch:

Email: radio.devon@bbc.co.uk and put “Make a Difference” into the subject title.

Phone: 01752 260323

Funded Student Support for POP members

Students from the University of Plymouth are looking to undertake free consultancy projects in the coming academic year.  The University would like to offer this to POP members.

Offer 1 – Fundraising event or a one-off awareness raising activity

There is an opportunity to have a group of 5-6 students plan and carry out a project activity on behalf of your organisation. This could be, for example, a fundraising event or a one-off awareness raising activity etc. Projects must be low risk, not be business critical, not incur any costs on behalf of the University and take place in early-mid December 2021.

The students are studying a ‘Project Management’ module as part of the undergraduate BSc (Hons) Business Management degree programme at The University of Plymouth. The module starts at the end of September and runs until mid-December 2021. Projects have to be completed within that timescale, so the event/activity must be achievable within that timeframe.

You will be required to meet with the students to determine the precise objectives/outcomes desired and be available to answer ongoing questions throughout the project’s duration.
Whether meetings and the activity/event will take place virtually or in person, will be determined by Covid-19 restrictions nearer the time.

Offer 2 – Creative, collaborative project (film, animation, sound, photography to web design)

Our final year BA (Hons) Media Arts students at The University of Plymouth are looking for opportunities to work creatively, in a collaborative context, with a client. The module runs from Thurs 30th September until 16th December 2021. The students have access to appropriate technology in order to produce high quality products. They work in a variety of media, from film, animation, sound, photography to web design. The projects they take up range from creative collaborations, to promotion and community projects.

Within the teaching on the ‘Collaborative and Contextual Practice’ module, students are encouraged to think about skills needed in collaborative work: how to negotiate, work flexibly, and think creatively. We expect the client to meet and give feedback on the student’s progress approximately once a week/once a fortnight (this can be via email, Skype, Zoom etc.) and to be involved in giving an interview to camera for a reflective, behind the scenes video, which is produced as part of the student’s self-promotion. This interview can be recorded via Skype or Zoom.

Offer 3 – Creative, written content for a webpage, blog, leaflet, social media campaign etc.

Would you be interested in having a student write some compelling copy for your organisation?  
e.g. They could create content for a webpage, blog, leaflet, social media campaign etc.

The programme leader of ‘BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing’ and ‘BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing’ at the University of Plymouth is keen for his students to gain some extra-curricular work experience. Do you have a small project a student could help you with? They would work remotely, starting sometime in September.

If you are interested in applying for any of these offers, please email penny.hele@plymouth.ac.uk for further details and an application form.
Please indicate which offers you are interested in. You may apply for more than one.

POP rewarded for ‘disruptive’ funding

Radical efforts to encourage partnership working among community projects in Plymouth have paid off creating a host of new relationships and an injection of tens of thousands of pounds of additional funding to the city.

Plymouth Octopus Project – also known as POP – which supports the voluntary and community sector (VCS) across the city, has been pioneering collaboration rather than competition. As a result, Plymouth now benefits from several unique partnerships supporting a wider variety of people in a wider variety of ways. Furthermore, in recognition of POP’s unconventional approach, nearly £80,000 of new money is being invested in the city. POP’s CEO, Matt Bell says collaboration pays off:

“POP ditched the competitive approach which sees individual projects competing for the same pot of money and instead created the Collectives Fund where organisations can learn from working together. It’s more rewarding for everyone.”

So far twelve very different projects involving more than thirty organisations have been awarded a total of £27,000 from the Collectives Fund. They include The Bis Sis Girl Empowerment Collective which will equip ‘tweens’ to better understand their bodies and emotions; Digital Inclusion from Borrow Don’t Buy (the library of things) and Timebank to refurbish and hand-out repurposed digital devices and Celebrating STEAM in the South West. This, a collaboration of six different organisations including Seadream, Art and Energy and Precious Plastic, is embracing all the science, technology, engineering, art and maths elements of STEAM to create a 360° film about their work, climate change and what we can do about it. Dr Juliette Jackson from Seadream, says it is unlikely the project would have come about had it not been for POP’s determination to try something different;

“These collaborations being instigated by POP are immensely beneficial to our small organisations. Where there could have been competition for funding we are now in a much stronger position, working as a team on a joint project, helping each other; learning together and reaching a wider audience.”

Significantly, POP’s efforts are attracting interest beyond Plymouth: three national charities have committed money to our city, two for the first time. The Alex Ferry Foundation which supports engineering, manufacturing and shipbuilding communities has pledged £10,000 which will be spent in Devonport while the Blagrave Foundation, which works with young people, wants to invest £20,000 in POP’s unconventional approach. As Tess Hibbert, Blagrave’s Regional Partnerships Manager confirms, they think POP is on to something;

“We believe the current funding system is broken and we need to think differently. We wanted to come on board with POP as it is modelling a system of funding based on collaboration which puts diversity and inclusion at its heart. We’re really looking forward to learning alongside you!”

The third fund, Power to Change, which has been funding projects in the city for five years is investing a further £48,000 to support POP’s work. As Bonnie Hewson, it’s Place Based Investment Manager says, they want to see more community businesses and projects that provide people who are ‘ageing’ with greater support:

“POP is always open to new ways of doing things and we hope that together we can continue to build power and innovation in the community and social enterprise sector. If you are interested in starting an initiative or business that will benefit the community and improve the health and wellbeing of local people, then POP is there to support you.”

It would appear that POP, and the city, with its reputation for social change and social enterprise, is at the forefront of a shift in ‘doing business better’. But as Matt Bell says being unconventional is not without its challenges;

“Our funding approach isn’t ‘traditional’ and we rely on our members to help us learn what is – and what isn’t – working. Without their support we wouldn’t be able to innovate; report on our progress and help to bring about a national shift in grant-giving.”

The POP Collectives Fund has recently increased the maximum amount of funding for projects to £5,000. For more information contact POP at info@plymouthoctopus.org or phone Plymouth 395131.

-ENDS-

Notes for editors:

For more information please contact Caroline Blackler. Email: carolineblackler@phonecoop.coop Telephone: 07920 741718

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Social Enterprise City Festival 2021

GET INVOLVED!

We are very pleased to announce the theme and dates for the 2021 Social Enterprise City Festival. This year’s festival has been designed and planned by one of our first Action Groups – a collection of members just like you who want help make the festival a highlight in the city’s calendar.

We are in the Decade of Action to rise to the challenge of meeting the SDGs by 2030. Are you working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Is your project, enterprise or organisation taking progressive action to put people and planet first?

PSEN’s upcoming Social Enterprise Festival for 2021 is aiming to highlight this and the amazing work being carried out locally. We are looking for local active projects, groups or organisations who are taking action towards one or more of the 17 SDGs to showcase what you are up to through running a workshop, event, talk or participatory session at this year’s Festival. This could be anything from a 1-hour event to a half-day workshop.

Could this be you? Would you like to add to Plymouth’s story of progressive change and showcase how you are making a difference whilst engaging new audiences?

We are looking to demonstrate what we need to do, why it’s important and how to take local action towards the global goals. If this sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you!

Please get in touch via hello@plymsocent.org.uk

The holistic SDGs range from tackling poverty, hunger and inequality through to climate action on a thriving and healthy planet whilst focusing on good health, wellbeing and ensuring equal opportunities for all. For more information on the SDGs and to find out what all 17 goals are visit https://sdgs.un.org/goals

Things you need to know!

In keeping with our ever changing world and the forward facing, solution focused nature of social enterprise there are some core changes to the festival and how it will work.

  • It will be run over 2 weeks to allow more spacing between events, meaning you can attend more events without it impacting your working week!
  • We’ll be doing a blend of face to face and online events. We’re also investigated blended events that allow for multiple attendance methods!
  • The event will be bigger than previous years but we’ll be crowdfunding to allow us to continue offering the workshops and events for free whenever possible.
  • We will be looking to include more events that focus on upskilling and empowering you to make the changes you need for a more sustainable future. (We will still have the connecting and networking opportunities too)
  • We will be looking for people to support us with sharing the crowdfunder updates, as well as businesses who can offer rewards. If you’d like to support the festival in this way then we’d love to hear from you.
  • You can still be a sponsor of the festival, all of the regular sponsorship packages will be available on the crowdfunder (giving you even more exposure) and we’ve added a friend of the festival package this year at only £50.

We hope that you are as excited as we are about the changes, and we want to reassure you that it will still be a celebration of social enterprise and a chance for you to run, host and attend events that will strengthen your connections, your skills base and build your business.

The Plymouth Charity Furnishing a Future

The Devon and Cornwall Furniture Reuse Project has been helping some of the most vulnerable people in Plymouth since 2011.

Its remit is to provide good quality furniture and appliances at affordable prices but as Alison Turner who runs the project says, working with more than 300 charities and organisations across the region, they are frequently called upon to help those in crisis, and supply furniture and white goods free-of-charge.

“A lot of people don’t realise we’re here and what we do,” says Alison. “Last year Plymouth Social Services asked us to help an 82-year-old man in Plymouth who had been befriended and then scammed by his neighbours. Things were so bad that he had to be moved out quickly, his house cleared, and his new flat kitted out with furniture and appliances. After it was all done, I popped in to see him, and he couldn’t stop crying: he couldn’t believe that we would do all of that for nothing.”

And that’s not all. Alison and her colleagues have helped to write CVs; to complete job application forms and apply for bus passes.

“We are so much more than just free furniture,” says Alison. “We help build relationships with people.”

Regrettably business is booming. In February the city council donated £10,000 to set up the “Warmer Home 4U” initiative and enable the charity to purchase thousands of pounds worth of white goods and appliances. Since its launch it has provided more than a hundred individuals and families with all they might need to set up home. Crucially, this has left the recipients free of the financial burden and enabled them to get on with ‘living’. More recently, a second grant of £3,000 was received to help people in Cornwall, but that money, says Alison, was gone within a fortnight;

“We spent £3000 on white goods to help people in Cornwall; it went within two weeks and every single person was a victim of domestic violence.”

Five years ago, the charity was helping about twenty people a month now it has more than doubled and nearly fifty individuals and families each month are being supported by the charity. Furthermore, says Alison, there has been a significant increase in referrals from mental health and domestic abuse charities. Realising there was more they could do to help, Alison and her volunteer colleague Chloe, set up a second initiative in February, the Welcome Home Box;

“We knew they’d be popular and they’d be needed but we had no idea how much.”

With the help from local stores Waitrose, Morrisons and Asda, as well as Lush in the shopping mall, each Welcome Box contains about £100 worth of bedding, toiletries and small appliances. And Alison and Chloe say they always find time to put in a personal little note and extra ‘gifts’ for the children;

“We had a mum in Saltash fleeing from domestic violence. She had moved with her children into this house and it was just awful. But when she and her children opened the boxes, she said, the look on the kids’ faces was amazing.”
The Devon and Cornwall Furniture Reuse Project continues to support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities; from refugees to victims of domestic violence; older people without any support and sixteen-year-olds leaving care: these are the individuals that Alison and her colleagues, the volunteers and the trustees of the charity, are committed to helping. It’s not furniture; it’s a future.

If you would like to support the charity please contact Alison on Plymouth 600277 or email plymouthfurniturereuseproject@yahoo.co.uk and help to furnish a future.

Sparks to Jump Start the High Street

A new fund – High Street Sparks – has been launched by POP, Plymouth City Council and The Box to award money to communities to get the city centre buzzing again.

Plymouth is one of sixty high streets across the UK to have a share of £95 million set up by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to create more attractive places for people to live, work and spend time. As part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone programme, High Street Sparks is concentrating, primarily, on Royal Parade and the Civic Square within which sits the Grade II Listed, Civic Centre. The Civic Square, designed for “dignity and frivolity,” was integral to the lauded “A Plan for Plymouth” (1943) which created “the country’s finest and boldest post-war city centre”. Today, the Portland Stone doesn’t shine quite so bright and the waters of the modernist civic pool may appear less than inviting yet, the Civic Square, retains its unique mid-century charm. Now, there is a significant pot of money to encourage and inspire communities of all shapes and sizes across the city to find their own distinctive ways to celebrate its heritage and attract people back to the future.

High Street Sparks has £2,500 to fund ten projects a year for the next three years (and for exceptional plans up to £5,000). So, if you have an idea to regenerate outside spaces, empty shops or underused buildings visit www.plymouthoctopus.org/high-street-heritage-action-zone

Image courtesy of Chris Robinson

Plymouth Primary Project

Plymouth Laureate Words 2020-22, Laura Horton, has been working with two local primary schools to create short films for the Plymouth Primary Project.

The first short film, written by Year Five children at St. George’s C of E Primary Academy and recorded by actors from Plymouth Conservatoire, is out now! The project was supported by Millfields Inspired and the £250 a POP fund.

Watch the first film here: https://literatureworks.org.uk/features/inspiring-a-new-generation-of-playwrights-plymouth-laureate-of-words-laura-horton-writes-about-her-plymouth-primary-school-project/?fbclid=IwAR2RfNZpWhlITfADi7H60qouodNqTs0KR2AN96IrMHsVUUQdAp9iePW0zfE