Brunswick Healthy Living Centre awarded £7,500 grant to support new projects

A Leamington Spa-based charity has received a £7,500 grant to support two projects which are helping local people affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

The Brunswick Healthy Living Centre (BHLC) has received funding to support the continuation of its Emergency Chilled Food Bank Project which was initially set up in response to the Covid lockdown. BHLC is also launching a Toiletry Selection Bags Project which helps those struggling to buy toiletries.

The grant awarded from the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) is funding both these projects and enabling the charity to support those struggling on a low income. The finance comes via CWRT’s Access Programme which supports social enterprises and charities in the West Midlands addressing the pressing cost-of-living crisis. It is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and works in collaboration with the CWCDA.

Both the Emergency Chilled Food Bank and Toiletry Selection Bags are available at the BHLC’s Hub situated on Shrubland Street in Leamington Spa. The Emergency Chilled Food Bank is unique and provides a bespoke, one-off food parcel for people who are unable to afford fresh, chilled food. For just £5, a family will receive items such as milk, bread, eggs, butter, cheese, and meat products to the value of £20.00.  The BHLC also has a ‘Free Food Table’ which is available at the Hub, where those from the community can come and pick up surplus items donated from supermarkets and/or local growers, that would otherwise be thrown away.

The newly launched Toiletry Selection Bags offer toiletries to individuals struggling on a low income. For £2 the bags contain items including shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste as well as sanitary products and men’s shaving products and razors.

Sarah Gutteridge Community Food Project Officer at BHLC said:

“The grant from CWRT is enabling us to make a real difference to the local community with the continuation of the Emergency Chilled Food Bank and launch of the Toiletry Selection Bags project.  Many are still feeling the pinch due to the cost-of-living crisis and this grant is playing a key part in helping us to deliver fresh food and wellbeing products to those in real need. To keep providing the vital support we do requires funding, so this grant is a huge help.”

The number of people in ‘food insecure’ households rose to 7.2 million in 2022/23, an increase of 2.5 million people since 2021/22, according to data on households that have below-average incomes from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

BHLC was launched in 2003 and provides a wide variety of services to local people including health and wellbeing support, employment services, bereavement support, community food projects, menopause support and computer access and reception services. Families can be referred to the Emergency Chilled Food Bank from any professional agency, such as Health visitors, GPs, or Foodbanks, or they can refer themselves- subject to a needs assessment- by contacting the Hub directly.

Sheridan Sulskis, CEO of CWRT added:

“The team at BHLC provide a very important service to the local community and it’s fantastic to see the funds being used for these two very important projects. Until you are faced with these problems it’s hard to know where to turn but the team and volunteers at the Hub do a brilliant job offering a full suite of services to help struggling families and individuals.

“This is a great example of how grants from the Access Programme can empower charities to expand their activities to meet the rising demand at a time when it’s needed the most. We have funds still available for grants to be claimed until September this year. This can also include a blended finance option of a loan with a 50% grant.”

Those who are struggling and looking to access the services provided by BHLC are welcome to visit the Brunswick Hub, 98-100 Shrubland Street in Leamington Spa or visit: www.brunswickhlc.org.uk for further information.