Bishop of Southampton praises food parcel volunteers
The Bishop of Southampton visited a food hub centre where thousands of meals and food parcels have been prepared through the lockdown period. The volunteers at Above Bar Church have distributed meals from Fareshare, local businesses and restaurants to people across the city, including people in hostels and temporary accommodation.
Bishop of Southampton Debbie Sellin praised the volunteers, saying, ‘It’s incredible to see the scale of work that is underway in the church and the huge difference it has made to so many people in the city’.
Welcoming the Bishop, Southampton City Council’s Housing Needs and Welfare Support Manager, Liz Slater explained: ‘The volunteers are an important part of the wider partnership to help people move away from sleeping rough on the streets and to be supported in temporary accommodation. Our thanks to all those who have prepared daily lunches and evening meals across the city over the past 12 weeks.’
An estimated £50,000 worth of food has been distributed by Love Southampton from this centre during lockdown.
Paul Woodman, Love Southampton, said, ‘We’re thankful for the food donations as well as the hard work of the volunteers. It’s meant that we can partner with hostels and community hubs to provide emergency food parcels for hundreds of people during the pandemic’.
Some of the agencies supported include Safe Families, The Booth Centre, Two Saints and the Testlands Hub.
Southampton City Council works closely with Love Southampton and other local agencies to address rough sleeping in the city and signpost people to practical and health support services.
Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, said: “Even though the pandemic has presented challenges for everyone, it has also highlighted the best in people and the generous spirit of so many in Southampton. I’m incredibly grateful to volunteers who have stepped in when it was needed most. I would like to thank them for the invaluable role they have played in providing food and meals for the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Love Southampton is an initiative of a range of churches, including Above Bar Church, across Southampton. The initiative works to bring together motivated people to focus on specific areas of need within Southampton’s communities. During the current Coronavirus crisis Love Southampton has been focused on delivering care packages for essential supplies, making contact with those who are isolated or alone, and gathering resources for churches across the city to support their work and help them be more effective. Love Southampton also ensures to refer to those in need of specialist help to its partner agencies.