As the cost-of-living crisis continues, often creating hidden poverty in homes and schools, many families and older people are having to choose between eating or heating their homes.
Last year, churches and community centres provided ‘warm spaces’ to offer warmth and companionship. This will continue as the need is still there.
In Lowestoft, a coordinated network of churches and volunteers provide essential support. The foodbank issues 1,200 food parcels per month, there are 3 community pantries, a FISH network (Food in the School Holidays) and school uniform bank.
At St Mark’s Church, Lowestoft, the Revd Damon Rogers explains: “Our Warm Welcome as we call it, runs each week, serving around 50-60 people, including 10-12 children. We have funding to continue through to March. Part of our warm welcome includes hosting a charity that supports people with autism and learning disabilities. There is also a wellbeing group, along with a worker from Access Community Trust who can give advice about getting back to work.”
All Saints and St Margaret’s church in Pakefield support a school uniform bank. Revd Sharon Lord says: “The school uniform bank at Bloodmoor Community Centre serves Lowestoft and the surrounding villages. It’s helped over 100 families with pre-loved and new uniform, shoes and coats.”