Hope Food and Early Help Partnership Sutton Coldfield

 

Hope Food is a relatively new charity (set up in May 2021) led by Deb Middleton, having initially started as a part of Hope for Sutton. In March 2020, Hope for Sutton organised support for those isolating during the first national lockdown which included shopping, prescription collecting, befriending calls and delivering food parcels. The community need for food parcels wasn’t restricted to the lockdown as even after it was lifted, volunteers were delivering food parcels to 140 households six days a week. It was made clear that those who were furloughed, unemployed or generally struggling to keep up still needed food support. 

Bound by a shared goal to bring hope and help to the community, Hope Food grew out of Hope for Sutton in order to provide an effective food resource. Ann, a volunteer for Hope Food, describes the work and impact as having snowballed in a short space of time, demonstrating both the need for support in the North Birmingham area and the dedication from Hope volunteers to create accessible and active places to receive food. Links have been established with supermarkets wherein surplus food that would have have gone to landfill now gets used for food parcels. Food parcels contain fresh vegetables and long-life cupboard items, and families can pick up supplementary food and drink bags. Hope maximises their food sources and outreach by supporting other food banks, and by delivering perishable foods that need to be eaten quickly to local hostels. You can find Hope Food at their pop up food banks in Mere Green, Falcon Lodge or Erdington. 

Our Place reached out to Hope after realising the brilliant work that they were doing and they have since become an active part of the Early Help Partnership. This has involved encouraging the families they support to access the food and fuel grant. Hope also collaborate with YMCA Erdington, United Reform Church, Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church and Stockland Green Methodist Church, creating an organised network of people and places to provide their essential work. 

Hope are proud of the open and inviting space they create; you don’t need a referral, vouchers, or proof of need, you can simply turn up and access free food and the comfortable, friendly environment that comes with it. The impact Hope has had in the community cannot be understated, as individuals have said that they couldn’t have survived throughout these difficult, unpredictable and often scary times without them. This is a quote from one of the visitors at Hope’s pop up food bank event in Mere Green, illuminating their work and the emotional and practical impact that they have:

“I had a wonderful time with Deb and Lynn. I’m grateful I found Hope on Facebook, not only for the goodies, but also for the calming and supportive environment there.  I left for home feeling peaceful and warm inside and I wanted to thank you and all the volunteers for that.  I believe that is what volunteering is meant to be, taking time to listen to people and making them feel human again, unburdening and forgetting all troubles for a bit.  Life is difficult at the moment, but please say thank you to all the team for their work.”