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We are here to help!

by Michael Ford last modified 19 Mar, 2020 08:20 PM

Across the Diocese of Salisbury, parishes are taking the steps to care for those most in need.

From individual churches working alongside pubs to provide hot meals, to £10,000 in small grants available from the Diocese to help fund projects, we are working with our communities to provide the extra support that many people will need over the coming weeks.

Precautions being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can have a hard-hitting impact on many people, especially those living on our streets, being supported by our foodbanks, or simply needing conversation or the delivery of groceries.

And our churches are stepping up to help out.

Like Potterne and Alderholt, the church is working alongside local pubs to provide a meal delivery service.

Or Lilliput which, like many of our parishes, provides postcards to connect people who are feeling isolated with those who can offer support.

In other places new networks of volunteers are being created with a scheme in Southill, hoping to deliver provisions from local shops to those who are self-isolating, and Churches Together in Devizes is working with the local town council and Wiltshire Council to make sure that those in need get a speedy response.

But foodbanks have reported problems with getting some essential items, not least those fast-disappearing toilet rolls!

Colin Brady, our Social Justice Programme Manager explains:

"Bournemouth Foodbank has appealed for cash at this time to help them buy the most urgently needed items in bulk, while other foodbanks are asking people to add a little more to their regular donations. Problems are anticipated with getting food to people who are not able to leave their homes and get to the foodbank points, and more volunteers may be needed to cover for regular helpers who develop symptoms.

"Trussell Trust and independent foodbanks are working together to keep track of what is needed so do check their websites."

As local churches respond to additional local needs the trustees of the Salisbury Diocesan Social Welfare Fund have agreed to make £10,000 available immediately for small grants towards parish projects.

Colin added:

"Our small grants are usually about £500 and have helped set up foodbanks and many other projects around the Diocese. We hope that by turning applications around quickly we can provide a little bit of support to enable parishes make the difference that is needed at this time of crisis.

"All we need is a paragraph about the intended activity, an indication of the amount needed, and details of the PCC or other charity account into which the grant can be paid if agreed."

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