It is estimated that over 3 million people have faced food poverty since the pandemic began, including those who have lost their employment and their homes. You can offer support by:
- Mapping out food banks, WarmSpaces and points of contact in your area to be shared with those who need them in your congregation.
- Encourage parents of school age children to continue to claim their free school meals where this applies.
- Share information on local support services with those who may have limited access to technology.
Especially during the colder months, the need to support those who do not have accommodation is greater than ever. You can help even by signposting people to services in your area such as day centres, soup kitchens or food banks. Streetlink is a nationwide charity that can be contacted if you see a rough sleeper bedded down or if someone you come into contact with states that they are homeless. You don’t need to approach the rough sleeper if you see them bedded down but can you can share identifying details if you contact Streetlink. This can help the Streelink team can spot them if they are able to come out to see them and link them with local support services.
The link for more information is here: Streetlink
Cold Weather Protocol, or Severe Weather Protocol.
This is an emergency response to prevent the deaths of people who sleep rough during winter. SWEP is activated by local authorities across the country when temperatures are forecast to be lower than zero degrees for three nights, or for one night in London.
During periods of extreme cold, housing authorities must provide facilities for rough sleepers. This is to prevent deaths as a result of weather conditions.
The Government must provide bed-and-breakfast-type accommodation for rough sleepers or other temporary accommodation.
Rough sleepers can stay there either until the severe weather ends, or they have found other suitable accommodation, whichever is the sooner.
Rough sleepers are:
- People sleeping in the open air.
- People about to bed down (sitting on/in or standing next to their bedding) in the open air.
- People actually bedded down (such as on the streets, in tents, doorways, parks, bus shelters, or encampments).
- People in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as sheds, cars, stairwells, barns, car parks, derelict boats, and so on).
During severe weather periods, Streetlink can be contacted to support a rough sleeper you see.
Trussell Trust food banks are searchable by postcode from our Find a Food Bank page here . Local independent food banks can be found by internet search.
FoodCycle run Community Meals, which means they invite people to come inside, sit down and enjoy a hot, nutritious meal. Their three-course meals are cooked and served by friendly volunteers in a safe and welcoming environment. Their weekly community dining service is free to everyone and not only helps tackle food poverty but it also helps alleviate loneliness by bringing the community together. Unlike many food banks, at a FoodCycle community meal no-one is asked to prove that they need free food they will also send you home with a food parcel if we have any extra food. Your local FoodCycle can be found here