Two years into the pandemic and we are as busy as ever

We are so sorry that it was last June when you got the last newsletter update. We have been so busy and have needed to adapt and change to become more resilient and sustainable as the effects of the pandemic will last for several years.
There has been behind the scenes changes to how we are managed, changes in how we support people who need help, we've grown the number of places we receive food from, and got so much tell you there is going to be three newsletters, this one, a coffee shop re-opening special and a third, which amongst other items will have more details on how many people we are helping, where they live, ethnicity and age.

We are what you name says - people freely give to us and we freely give what we've been given to help those in need. As ever we need food, toiletries, towels, bedding, clothes, small household items but we also need money so 

If you want to help us financially now then use this link  or to find past newsletters and more information then head over to this page
The Vicar has been openly discussing his plans for retirement for a few years and during autumn time he announced he would retire on Easter Sunday which is now only a couple of weeks away. Change always creates opportunity and this has been an ideal time to create a more robust and sustainable management set up for the project moving forward.
So the first change is that we now have a management board which reports to our Church Council who are our Trustees. The Church council established terms of reference for the management committee and the change enables management decision to made made quicker, to have more focused discussions and to broaden the expertise of people involved with managing the project. 

The second change is that we recognised that there was too much work for our food bank manager, as we grew bigger and bigger. So we have split the roles into an Operations Manager (Andy Unsworth) and a Service and Development Manager (Sharon Fung). Both are 20 hour per week posts. 
We've also established volunteer roles with specific responsibility, so we have a  coffee shop supervisor (more about that in another email), Facebook supervisor, Instagram supervisor, volunteer wellbeing coordinator, and a  clothes area supervisor.

Each day we have a Floor Manager (filled by  experienced volunteers) who sort out any immediate issues that arise on a day to day basis. The operations manager is always around to offer further support.

Since we have put in these changes, all aspects of the project has continued to grow and we feel confident moving forward with these changes.
This is Mel, one of our Floor Managers, she is also on the Management Committee. Although here she's having a well earned cup of tea and a biscuit.
Floor Managers sort out any problems in the queue, make sure people keep moving inside, help volunteers when they have problem and deal with the many questions that arise each day.
Without the many individuals who have donated to us we would not be able to help so many people. We are also very grateful for the numerous grants we have received especially from South Yorkshire Community Fund and Doncaster Council who have been major contributors.

We are also grateful to FareShare, FoodAWARE CIC, Neighbourly, COOP, Tescos, M&S, Lidl, ASDA and Sainsbury's for their food donations most of which would have gone into the waste chain. We now do an average 33 pickups from supermarkets each week which is a truly amazing effort by our volunteers. Some of the collections are really late at night and they collect in all weathers.

We see a wide range of donations from crates of food, chocolate, flowers and some are even eggtastic. When we are able to give a treat such as chocolate or flowers to those in need, even the the saddest face can be brightened up.
During the last year, as we've helped  more and more people, the cost of of topping up gaps in our donations became too high for us, and we have needed to scale back the amount of food we buy. We now give out three bags and use our food grants to top up food for these bags which are targeted at three groups:
  • the homeless which contains food that doesn't need to be cooked.
  • a "kettle bag" which contains food that can have hot water added to it such as a cup-a-soup or a pot noodle
  • a starter pack which contains a wide range of food which we give to everyone on their first visit if this appropriate
We still need people who can support us financially . Not only does this help feed many people but it also shows to grant making organisations the level of our local support. Will you be one of our Partners who will help us continue to support the weakest in society?
Click to become one of Partners

The above link takes you to the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS)

This is set up by the Church of England who will automatically reclaim Gift Aid for us free. The Account is called BLW Youth & Community Fund. BLW stands for Balby, Loversall & Wadworth because although based at Balby all three churches are involved with running Given Freely Freely Given. Also when not in a pandemic the project includes our free youth club on a Friday, hence youth is in the name. This helps us when we are applying for grants.
Donations can be made on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis by Direct Debit. Even though the donations are made to the PGS, donations are restricted to our community work and cannot be used elsewhere.

The donation will be passed back to us by 10th of the month. Gift Aid will be sent separately once PGS has received it from HMRC.

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