Supporting Communities in Vauxhall
In Kind Direct is a charity in the United Kingdom founded in 1996 by HRH Prince Charles. The charity redistributes surplus goods from manufacturers and retailers to UK charities working both domestically and abroad.
Staff from In Kind Direct recently visited Epsom Street Community and Volunteer Service based in Vauxhall, Liverpool, which is situated within the heart of the community and works closely with local schools and community residents.
Donna Williamson, Co-ordinator said: ‘We are a lifeline for many of the families in this community, and In Kind Direct has helped us so much to strengthen that lifeline. From the simplest product like washing up liquid to computers and laptops, In Kind Direct has been there to help us get the right products to improve the quality of life of our families, and really make a huge difference’
Mandi Tambourini-Moore, the manager explained: ‘In school holidays the Centre offers free breakfasts and lunches to local children. Over summer 2016, the Centre opened 3 days a week for lunches and prepared 1,818 meals for the children, that’s a lot washing up and a lot of washing up liquid! Being able to get washing up liquid alone from In Kind Direct has saved so much of our budget. It allows us to spend more on our other much needed services, and also to give so much more to our service users then we normally could’
Mandi Tambourini-Moore, the manager explained: ‘We have up 71 children or young persons in attendance most days. Along with a free breakfast and lunch we often hand out packs of Gap socks and trainers. The young people love the quality of the socks and the named braded trainers. The parents are so delighted that we can support the children in this way, as it’s another pressure off their tight budget’
Donna Williamson, Co-ordinator explained: ‘Basic Essentials from In Kind Direct such as washing up liquid, washing powder, nappies, shampoos, toiletries and other cleaning products are invaluable to our families, because for families living in poverty, being able to save even five pounds is a huge thing, allowing them to cover some of their essential bills like gas and electricity’.
Mandi Tambourini-Moore, the manager explained: ‘We have a lot of new mothers in the community and we try to make sure that the extra cost is not a pressure on the family. With In Kind Direct we were able to get great supplies of Johnson baby lotions and oils and we made up new baby welcome packs for new mums, including nappies and baby clothing. The mums love the packs we make and it makes them feel special and supported with such high quality goods’
Donna Williamson, Co-ordinator explained: ‘We also like to make sure our mums, who are such a huge support in this community are supported by us. We offer them Pamper sessions with IKD products, and they love getting together as this provides mutual support. Hand creams, face creams and make up are all in use, and we couldn’t think of doing this kind of event without In Kind Directs help’
‘We often have specific projects to help local people in times of crisis. In one, a fire ruined a kitchen for a local family and IKD cleaning items were used to clean the room so they could move back in.
The second example involves a family breakdown, where the family home was wrecked by the father – again IKD cleaning products were used extensively to clean the mess made, so the mother and children could move back to their home.
Without IKD products such as Airbeds and the Centre’s help, both families would not have been able to move back in. Airbeds are used when furniture becomes broken and is too expensive to replace’ Mandi Tambourini-Moore, the manager explains.
The centre also supports some local homeless shelters, by providing packs that include gloves, hats, socks, razors, toothpaste and brushes and shampoos. Donna explained that ‘We feel that the local homeless centre and sheltered accommodation are part of our community too, so many of the items from In Kind Direct such as Gap socks, toothpaste and shampoos are donated there. We could not afford to support these desperate people without In Kind Direct’
Epsom Street Community and Volunteer Service was originally run by Liverpool City Council, but through council cuts, Epsom Street was transferred over to Nugent in 2015
The Centre is supported by two staff and a number of volunteers. With the project based in an area where over 50% of children live in poverty and 20% live ‘on the bread line,’ and the project works with families and children to offer free play sessions twice a week, and during non-term time children can come along an enjoy a free breakfast and lunch which is prepared by the children with support from the volunteers.
Adults can also make use of the centre, who offer exercise classes, training and development opportunities.
Epsom Street’s doors are always open and have in excess of over 71 children/young persons in attendance most days, along with 45 adults who visit the project seeking specific advice/support. The centre offers a safe environment where adults can talk and work towards gaining qualifications.
The team at the centre have developed and opened up opportunities to engage and encourage local adults and their family members into volunteering opportunities, educational, projects, confidence building courses while looking at their health care through exercise and complimentary therapies.
Their youth groups have a more structured sessional focus e.g. The “YAG” Youth Advisory Group have been able to be part of media training, to promote digital inclusion and funding training in local grant application decision making. They have also completed AQAs in communication and finance and Emergency First Aid qualifications.