Faith groups in Bath are using the links and organisational systems established during lockdown to continue to support those in need in their communities. St Michael’s church in Twerton, has teamed up with Southside Youth Connect and Bath City Farm to provide cooked meals, and food parcels for those who are still unable to go out, or who are struggling to feed their families.
Nathan Gale from St Michael’s Church is the Leader at Rose Cottage Hub, a community centre in Twerton, “During lockdown everyone managed to band together so well, it would be absolutely foolish to chuck it away. The more agencies that can get together, the more powerful we can be. It’s really, really positive.”
Building on the relationships and working practices forged during lockdown, the groups are providing support directly to those who need it. Using food donated by FairShare and Bath Foodbank, volunteers are cooking 100 meals at Rose Cottage Hub each week. These are then frozen and given to people unable to get out and buy the ingredients to cook, or who struggle to cook for themselves.
Alongside this food parcels are being prepared for families, together with advice on healthy eating and information about the team at St Michaels. Local community police officers are helping to distribute goods to the more isolated members of the community.
Nathan says, “Many people are still struggling with loneliness or with their mental health issues. We’ve seen a rise in depression throughout the coronavirus crisis. If we can support people through this tough time, then we can help alleviate some of their worries.”
“We’re also trying to encourage people to get back into the mindset they had at the start of lockdown. As bad as lockdown was, it encouraged such incredible family time for so many people and people reached out to help each other. We’re saying it’s okay to keep that going, you don’t need the government telling you not to go out to make that happen.”
Thanks to a grant from St John’s Foundation, Rose Cottage has also been able to create two short term paid jobs for young people from the area. They’ll be employed throughout August.