A new community project hopes to unlock Bedford’s community spirit to ensure no one goes hungry in the Borough this winter.
The #NoToHungerInBedfordBorough project aims to link Bedford Borough Council, local businesses, food banks, donors and people that need support together.
The campaign and support will help those in need get access to food so that every child in the borough will be warm and well fed this winter.
The campaign website not only gives lots of advice to families and individuals who need to access support, but also gives opportunities for residents to donate. You can also get in touch through Bedford Borough Family Information Service on 0800 023 2057.
One initiative is the ‘donate a slow cooker’ campaign. For under £20, you can buy a slow cooker for a family in need via the #NoToHungerInBedfordBorough Amazon wishlist, or donate an unused slow cooker via FACES, Project 229 or Bedford Foodbank.
On the website you can also find out how to donate food vouchers, food items and how businesses, organisations and clubs can also get involved.
Bedford Borough Council is working with food voucher company, Black Hawk, to provide support for all those eligible for income-related free school meals, children in the early years who receive pupil premium and two-year-old funding and all of the council’s care leavers during the Christmas holidays.
Another partner organisation is the YMCA, whose business operations manager, Rebecca Ireland, said: “We are really pleased to be part of this Bedford Borough wide initiative which will allow for greater joint working and hopefully stop families and individuals falling through the gaps.
“We’ve seen a four-fold increase since March in the number of households accessing our Food4 service so really to join the Say No To Hunger campaign was an obvious thing to do, having already been working closely with FACES and Bedford Foodbank.”
The easiest way to access the service is to visit oneymca.org/notohungerinbedfordborough or call the Bedford Borough Family Information Service on 0800 023 2057
Cllr Michael Headley Portfolio Holder for Finance at Bedford Borough Council, said, “I am delighted that working alongside crucial partner organisations we are able to support vulnerable families and households this winter. We know this is going to be a particularly tough time for many people in Bedford Borough.
“We know that there are people who have never needed help before but the impact of COVID has hit them hard. Please do get in touch if you think you need support as soon as possible.
“The newly created website will not only offer advice to residents who are looking for support but will enable local businesses and networks to find out how they can get involved and help support those in need.”
The Council and Bedford Borough schools are encouraging more families to register and apply for free school meals, so that they begin to receive the support in time for the school holidays.
To find out if you are eligible and to register for free school meals visit bedford.gov.uk/schools-education-and-childcare/education-welfare-service/free-school-meals/