A NUMBER of food banks across BCP are now operating as 'life centres' to help provide people with additional support.

As we emerge from lockdown the food banks across our area, backed by local charity Faithworks, are demonstrating that they provide much more than just emergency food.

Their new life centre model offers a wide range of support including budgeting and debt advice, support with housing, community meals and life skills training such as cooking on a budget.

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Nick Bold, life centres project manager for Faithworks, said:

“Food is only one small part of what's necessary to help a household thrive.  

"We all need opportunities to connect with and contribute to our neighbourhoods and that’s what life centres are all about."

Bournemouth Echo:

The new life centre model will allow people to receive additional support with budgeting, cooking and more. (Faithworks).

Creative solutions that help people thrive are at the heart of the centres, one example being the provision of slow cookers during lockdown last year.  

This resulted from hearing that one family were surviving on eating cold meals as they could not afford the electricity.  

Thanks to a range of local funders including Dorset Community Foundation, 40 slow cookers and over 7000, fresh fruit and veg parcels have now been given out by Christchurch, Poole, Wimborne and Blandford Food Banks enabling people to cook nutritious, healthy and hot meals on a budget.  

All of which moves Faithworks food banks closer to the local Access to Food Partnership’s vision that everyone can feed their families enough nutritious food all the time.

Gill Payne, Poole Food Bank manager said: “It’s no longer that we just give three days’ worth of food.  

"We will walk alongside people through any problem that they are having and for as long as it takes for them to say ‘I can do this now’.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Gill Payne, Poole Food Bank manager (Faithworks).

Faithworks partners with and provides food bank support across Dorset in locations at: Christchurch, Poole, Wimborne and Blandford.

All together across the food banks, services provided include: Faithworks CMA debt advice and budget coaching; support with benefits and housing; cooking on a budget courses; recipe bags (a recipe and all the ingredients needed to make a nutritious meal for a family); school holiday support for those who need it (food provision), a Homeless drop in with practical support, and a furniture bank (at Christchurch Food Bank+). 

You can find out more about what the Faithworks-backed Life Centres offer on their website: https://faithworkswessex.org.uk/projects/foodbank/