A partnership between the council and the community has launched its fourth Food Stop for local families in need as a borough-wide welfare response to COVID-19 continues.
Food Stops help struggling residents to save up to £700 a year off household bills through providing cut-price groceries and wider support, and the latest began last week in Purley for people affected by the economic impact of COVID-19.
The new Food Stop based at Old Lodge Lane Baptist Church will provide around £15 to £20 worth of fresh food and other groceries for £3.50 a week, debt advice, job support and skills training.
Croydon voluntary groups needing to collect food for distribution to their own customers can also sign up with this Food Stop and three other local collection points across the borough. This includes Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) which joined last week.
In the Food Stop’s first week, around 375 kilos of food delivered by charity Fareshare was distributed by church staff and volunteers to around 30 homes. The Food Stop is now also open from 10am-12pm on Fridays in 15-minute slots to maintain social distancing restrictions, while self-isolating residents in need continue to receive home deliveries of food parcels.
Pastor Nick Graves, of Old Lodge Lane Baptist Church, said: “We got about 35 volunteers in 24 hours, which is a luxury to have. People are feeling powerless, so the idea of being able to do something practical to help is very appealing.
“We’re already getting reports back of people being blown away by it – they’re saying things like ‘You don’t know how much this has made me smile at a time when there isn’t much to smile about.’ It’s wonderful. The council has been absolutely marvellous in helping us get this off the ground.”
“Our Food Stops with local partners are already a lifeline for Croydon families in need, but the economic impact of COVID-19 means this latest launch could not come at a more crucial time to support struggling households.
“I want to thank council staff, the church leadership and their volunteers for their dedication in setting this up, and look forward to seeing more local families benefit from this superb scheme.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services
The new Food Stop comes in addition to separate wider work by the council with dozens of organisations across the borough, co-ordinated by CVA, to deliver food for local people in response to COVID-19. Within the first two weeks since restrictions were introduced, this work led to over 1,000 households in Croydon receiving food parcels or financial support and advice, including emergency food parcels, supermarket e-vouchers and hardship grants.
The Food Stop partnership between Croydon Council’s Gateway service and local voluntary, community and faith sector organisations began at The Family Centre in Fieldway in New Addington in 2017, a second opened at St Francis’s Church in Selsdon last autumn and then in February a third opened at Parchmore Methodist Church in Thornton Heath.
Voluntary groups wanting to use this Food Stop as a local collection point can contact email@example.com for more information.
Residents needing urgent food or welfare advice can call the council on 020 8604 7787 weekdays from 9am-4pm, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Old Lodge Lane Baptist Church about its Food Stop, email on email@example.com or call 0208 668 6260.