Feature: Fighting Food Poverty

At Lifeshare, we believe nobody in our city should go hungry. Our Weekend Breakfast Service has run for many years, and we have recently received support from Manchester City Council to provide emergency food parcels at the weekend when other services may be closed. But we wanted to do more.

We therefore formed collaborations with four other agencies and organizations in Manchester, and bid for more funding from Manchester City Council to provide not only food items but also education around food, healthy eating and food hygiene so that our service users receive a hand up rather than a hand-out. With applications totalling over £1.5m for a pot of only £400k, we knew that competition would be fierce but we were confident that our project was well-designed and had a high chance of success. In the end, Manchester City Council agreed with us and funding was released for this exciting project to begin.

The four other partners in the collaboration are:

  • FareShare Greater Manchester tackles food waste and fights hunger by redistributing 300 tonnes per year of surplus food from the industry to 120 local organisations who in turn feed people in need. It is run locally by EMERGE 3Rs, an environmental charity based in Openshaw, and part of a national network of 20 regional centres redistributing 5,000 tonnes of food per year to 7,000 charities.
  • Cracking Good Food promotes cooking from scratch using sustainable and seasonal ingredients via a community cooking network. They deliver a range of classes and courses with community groups and for the general public. The cooking sessions are geared towards their needs such as specific nutritional and budget requirements.
  • Compassion Food Bank, a Moss Side-based independent food bank, provides food for people in need as well as a drop in facility for ex-offenders and the wider community.
  • Rainbow Christian Centre, a Hulme-based church, provides a range of services such as a youth club, gym sessions, summer playscheme, food parcels and advice.

All five partners support vulnerable people and alleviate food poverty through their work. We either provide emergency food during a crisis or teach how to cook on a budget, because we know it is the first step in addressing the underlying causes of poverty, such as homelessness, debt, benefits, substance abuse and ultimately lifts people out of poverty.

Cooking sessions are designed to work within the limitations often faced by service users and take place on the first Thursday of every month. We hosted our first - showing service users how to cook nutritious meals with only a microwave - just a few days ago and the next, on 7 May, will cover cooking with just a kettle and preparing healthy meals with raw foods.

CARDS

As many of you know, over the last few months Lifeshare has been undertaking a creative arts project to give service users a means to express themselves through creativity, be that in the form of drawing, writing, collage or any other artistic activity. We believe in allowing people to have a creative experience of themselves and enabling a healthy way to express their personality and circumstance. Furthermore, we believe that providing this opportunity will build self-confidence and esteem, and engender feelings of empowerment and an air of reinvention.

This project has resulted in a number of art pieces since it began, and we are delighted to announce that many of these pieces will feature in an exhibition to be held at 3 Piccadilly Place Manchester (M1 3BN) from 10am-6pm on 11-17 April 2015.

The exhibition will be a collaborative event that showcases artwork by artists from five Manchester services:

  • Lifeshare Working to prevent and break the cycle of homelessness, reduce harm and promote health.
  • Coffee4Craig Serving up to 350 meals a week, providing signposting and support to all in Manchester City centre to the community, from rough sleepers to the lonely and vulnerable.
  • mADDchester Providing advocacy for ADHDers. Wherever you are in your journey we'll help.
  • Mothers Against Violence Working with inner city communities against gun and knife crime.
  • The Pankhurst Centre Providing a museum area open to all and a women only space that is a unique environment in which women can learn together, work on projects and socialise.

Trustee Recruitment

It is now two years since we recruited volunteers to the Board of Trustees and we still have vacancies available. As a trustee (a non-executive company director) you will oversee the running of the charity, play a part in decision-making, and take ultimate responsibility for its operations.

We are very pleased to welcome Mike Burgess to the Board, and look forward to more appointments in the coming months.

If you think you might be interested in taking on this role, more information and an application form are available from our website. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds who have an interest in Lifeshare's work.

Donations

As always, donations continue to arrive on our doorstep, enabling us to continue supporting people who are vulnerable or marginalized in Manchester. Among the many generous gifts we have been fortunate to receive since January are:

  • Boxes full of goodies for our service users, kindly donated by Boxes2Move
  • A cash donation from Tracey Adu and colleagues at Adactus Housing Association, raised as part of a Dress Down Day.

If you would like to make a donation, you can give money easily via our website, by direct debit, or via JustTextGiving (simply text LSUK00 £10 to 70070 to donate £10, for example.)

If you would prefer to donate goods, however, we welcome any offers of food or clothing at our Dantzic St premises (see the picture below for suggested donations). We are particularly running low on food parcel supplies and would be very grateful for any help you can provide.

Fundraising

Fundraising Concert

Finally, the Dantzic Street dining room will play host to a Lifeshare fundraising gig on Thursday 11th June, when the main artist will be Henry Priestman (http://www.henrypriestman.com, www.facebook.com/henrypriestman). Henry, formerly with The Christians, has since re-invented himself as an entertaining acoustic artist regularly heard on Radio 2, with two acclaimed albums in recent years.

Tickets will go on sale shortly, so please keep an eye on Lifeshare's Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Could you help run the night? Matt will be preparing food. We will need 7 or 8 people to help with the door, and to serve food and drinks. If you can help, please contact Pete on 07958 708661 or pete@realstrings.com

Sponsored Events

The Manchester 10K (Great Manchester Run, 10 May) will be upon us soon. One runner, Uzz Ali, has already set up her fundraising page and raised £75. If you are thinking of running on our behalf, our website includes help on setting up a fundraising page and we will promote your fundraising through our news and social media channels.

For those who are happier on two wheels, why not test your endurance with the annual Manchester-Blackpool Cycle (12 Jul) or the Salford Triathlon (26 Jul)?

Vacancy: Admin Support Officer

A new opportunity has been created for a full-time Administrative Support position at Lifeshare. The successful applicant will be tasked with a range of moderate to complex clerical/secretarial work assignments, supporting our Operations Manager, whom they will report to, alongside the Board of Trustees.

Lifeshare identifies street homelessness and offers assistance to young people to obtain emergency accommodation, amongst several other strategic objectives. The role is client/service user facing and involves regular contact with a wide variety of individuals from the community of Greater Manchester; so problem solving, sound judgement, discretion and excellent interpersonal skills are vital. Practical, thorough and creative solutions are encouraged when working to achieve the organisationís objectives and outcomes.

It is important that the successful applicant is able to work using their initiative and take responsibility for their work and actions, although day-to-day instruction will be provided. It is highly likely that as the role develops, additional, new opportunities will be introduced, providing the successful candidate with additional personal development opportunities. At times some early morning, evening and weekend work is required, so a degree of flexibility is important. The day-to-day Lifeshare office hours are 9am-5pm, based in the Northern Quarter, Manchester.

See the full Job Description for more details.

For any further enquiries, please email peter.rycroft@lifeshare.org.uk.

Suggested Donations

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