The Hope Centre has been a project under the Hideaway since the start of the covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. Our organisation reacted immediately to the lockdown, recognising that our community already suffered with some of the highest deprivation rates in the UK and knowing that many many people would be unable to provide even the basic essentials for their families.
We started to provide shopping services, cooked meals, packed lunches and wellbeing calls which quickly developed into providing donated food and official food bank parcels to families who were beginning to struggle. As furlough continued, many industries suffered and people started to lose jobs the amount of free support we offered grew and grew.
By the end of 2020 we had distributed over £100,000 worth of food and energy top-ups in various forms to thousands of people across the local community. For many people the Hope Centre had become a lifeline.
As the need for our support continued beyond anything we initially imagined, we began to realise that a long-term solution was needed. Even as things begin to return to 'normal' hopefully later in 2021, many residents have been left without employment, carrying huge debts and suffering with a whole range of consequences of the pandemic.
In a community where 1/3 of families lived below the poverty line even before the start of the pandemic, we believe that long-term people need more than regular hand-outs. People need access to affordable food, but many also need help with the costs of school uniform, help sorting our finances and finding a new job. People need training, someone to listen, someone to advise, believe in and encourage them. People need to know where the help is, and how to access it.
Over the past few months we've been planning and fundraising for a permanent base for the Hope Centre. The Hope Store will be opening on Wood Lane, Partington early in 2021. The store is for all M31 residents and we're planning to house a range of services there. Including:
Community Store - £3 per bag of shopping
Single item express - Buy just what you need for less
The bread and butter thing
Second hand school uniform
Tea to go - fresh meals ordered and made for you
Support4U - Brew, chat and help with forms and advice
Local makers' shelves
These services will work hand in hand with the free training, employment and support groups available at the Hideaway along with our brilliant local partners.
There are a number of ways to get involved with the new Hope Store whether you're a local resident hoping to use the centre or a supporter wanting to help.
Our shop will only work if generous individuals and businesses are willing to help out - regularly donating surplus stock and setting aside food for our users.
Individuals can donate food directly at the store (once open) or at the Hideaway.
If you own or work for a business organisation that may be able to donate surplus stock we would love to hear from you. We're particularly looking for providers of breads, dairy items and fresh fruit and vegetables.
We're looking to build an incredible team of Hope store volunteers. There are a lot of jobs that will need to be done from keeping the building clean and shelves restocked to making deliveries and helping people with advocacy and signposting. If you are interested in getting involved, head over to the Join the Team page now.
Strong financial support is key to the success of the whole project. We can't subsidise food and other items without good financial support. There are many ways to help from making regular donations to creating fundraisers. To support the project financially, head over to our Support Us page. Thank you.
If you live in an M31 post code and would like to register to use the store, registration will open shortly. Check back here regularly for more information.