The relative overall prosperity of our beautiful part of the country can all too easily mask the financial and other pressures which a number of local people already face. The scale of the increases in fuel and food costs are likely to exacerbate those existing problems and also put many more people into difficulties, particularly those on fixed incomes.We already know that demand for the foodbank has doubled in a space of weeks and seems set to grow considerably further.
We and Joy Dimond (employed as Missional (Community) Listener for Stow on the Wold at the Baptist Church), are working together with other local organisations, including the Foodbank and the Town Council, to try to create a co-ordinated approach to these problems.
We are fortunate to have a well-run foodbank working out of the Baptist Church Hall between 10am and 12pm every Wednesday. They depend heavily on donated food but also need to buy in products to complete parcels and to pay for vouchers for fresh produce. If you are able to help them over this, please consider making a donation (Gift Aided if possible) via their website https://northcotswold.foodbank.org.uk/. This link will also show you which products are most needed at this time, and which goods they currently have in sufficient quantities at the moment.
They are keen to receive donations and are currently asking for the following products in particular:
Long-life milk, ketchup/mayonnaise, pickles/chutney, tinned meat & fish, packet sauce mixes, gravy granules & stuffing, household cleaning sprays and washing up liquid.
A new Adviser has been appointed in the same place and hours as the Foodbank. There is also a need to recruit a case worker to undertake time-consuming follow-up casework.
(ii) Warm Spaces
The Warm Spaces initiative has been reviewed and it was decided to promote the local library rather than the other venues, which did not really attract much interest.
Details of the opening times of the library can be found by clicking here
(iii) Getting information to people via websites
It will be no good creating support mechanisms if people are not aware of them. The website you are looking at is part of this, but we shall also seek to co-ordinate with other local websites including the Baptist Church, Foodbank, Town Council and others. We shall also publicise these websites via posters and flyers in prominent places around the town.
(iv) Physical distribution of information by hard copy
Some of the people who need support may not use electronic communications and so it will be important to build up a list of people who need hard copies and find a way of distributing the information. We are working with Joy and others on a low-cost, hard-copy Stow Community Newsletter to be produced as needed rather than on a fixed cycle and to be distributed to those not using electronic communications.
Please let us know if you are aware of someone in that situation. Please also consider helping with distribution whether only to your own street or more widely – it would be sad if someone failed to get help for lack of information reaching them.
(v) Please help if you can
Please let us know if you know of people in need, or if you have other suggestions for measures we can take or how to publicise what is available.