Community Centres

Message from the NG7 Foodbank

Dear Supporters Happy New Year.

Since our last update in early November the number of people fed has now reached over 3,000. This festive period has been particularly outstanding in terms of financial donations, leaving us in a healthy position going forward into 2014. Thank you for your ongoing support. Sometimes the smallest gesture of kindness can be the most humbling. One Friday we fed a man whose benefits had been delayed going into his bank. Once paid the following Friday he walked from Aspley to bring 2 cans of soup for us.

Here’s a few of the things that have been happening?

Due to the impact of welfare reforms we have increased the referral places to our main referral agency Nottingham Law Centre to 25 places each week. Please note we’re still not taking new referral agencies on at present.

We are now feeding on average 55-70 people per week.

Once again we have declined an offer from Channel 4 to take part in a documentary they are currently making about poverty. We made this decision for various reasons, particularly after their last invitation to be a part of the documentary “Skint”.

After asking NCC the question “why can’t people who have had a Benefit Sanction access the NCC Discretionary Emergency Hardship Scheme (DEHS).” We met with the senior staff who implement this decision; Lisa Black and Liz Jones. We asked directly for them to change this decision and we await their responses.

We continue to direct our food resources to asylum seekers awaiting NASS support, refugees awaiting NI numbers, those with NRPF (No right to public funds). Local families; people who have taken out pay day loans or used other unscrupulous money lending outlets. People affected by DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) benefits sanctions. Women/ families fleeing domestic violence.

We are still being asked about why and how we differ with the Trussell Trust Food Banks so just to reiterate the points made in March 2013 update.

We are not a Christian led food bank but work across the range of faith groups.
We are a collective of different political organisations, campaigns and local individuals who work around deprivation and poverty within the city.
We operate on a referral only program: This process is designed to maximise our resources to reach the hardest pressed groups within the city. The referral agency works closely in addressing the individual’s/ family’s problems, hopefully to the point of a positive resolution.
We encourage users of the food bank to get involved in its’ running and assisting others.
We believe that food banks should be the last line of defence for people experiencing food poverty. We seek to find our own community solutions but recognise we need to put pressure on local government policy.
The NG7 food bank will not to be co-opted by state agencies who have resources for interventions available to them. Neither will we monitor/ share information with them.
Finally a massive thank you to the following: The Basket Brigade, NCC staff donations from Canning Circus Xmas lights event, another amazing fundraiser from the QMC School of Health Sciences for the donations from the “World Feast Holiday Treats”.The fantastic cash donation from The Church of the Holy Spirit West Bridgford- Christmas Fair.
The many local individuals that give us food and money, the Friday volunteers and food collection drivers, Bike repair man and his friends. Inter Varsity Press, Nottingham Interfaith Council, Hope Nottingham and Trussell Trust network, UNITE, UNISON, City Care, Mary Potter Health Centre, Nottingham Law Centre, St Ann’s Advice Centre, The Sumac Centre, Nottingham Solidarity Network, Veggies, Partnership Council, NCHA, Metropolitan HA, Framework HA, Sherwood Methodist Church, Our Lady of Grace(Cotgrave), St Barnabus Catholic Cathedral, Evangelical Free Church (Radford), Seventh Day Adventist, The Baha’i Community, Himmah, The Friends Meeting House, Nottingham Hebrew Synagogue, Nottingham Progressive Synagogue, The Derby Ashram, Guru Nanak Satsang Gurdwara. The many other Churches in Nottingham who we don’t have the names of.

Forest Fields Primary School, Seely Primary School, Bentinck Primary School, Mellor’s Primary School, Djanogly ( Sherwood Rise),  Ali’s Fruit and Veg Store, Kemet FM, St Lukes Surgery Radford Health Centre. I’m Not From London, LeftLion. The Place Sherwood. Madni Trust. Radford History Group, Shoosmiths Solicitors, Clarion Choir, Bronwyn’s Choir, Sherwood Singing for Fun Choir, The Parish of Radford, Nottingham Hunt Saboteurs, Flo Skatepark, NGCircle, Medina Stores, staff at MCN Bentinck Rd. The Maze/ Amazement Festival Crew, Masters Management Services.    

Food donations can be taken to 

Park House (Framework), 20 Bentinck Road, Radford/Hyson Green, NG7 4AD, 9am to 9pm Monday to Sunday
Sure Start, Mary Potter Centre,Gregory Boulevard,  Hyson Green,  NG7 5HY,   8am to 6pm Monday to Friday

For further information please email ng7foodbank@gmail.com   Tel 07534167354
Facebook: NG7 Foodbank              Twitter: @NG7Foodbank

New Community Centre to Open in Forest Fields

Early spring is the planned opening of the newly refurbished and resurrected community centre in Forest Fields. The centre, which is behind Forest Fields Primary School, has been closed now for more than a
year. The centre will be run by a consortium of local community groups. What the centre is used for – whether it is a space for baby and parents groups, kids clubs, ESOL classes, Asian youth or whatever else – will largely depend on this consortium.

There is so little space that people in the community can use in Forest Fields, and opening a new centre here at a time when welfare resources are being further and systematically decimated is an opportunity worth grabbing. Giving a centre like this a new lease of life could be a really useful resource that could help us to help ourselves as a community. If it is used by – and useful for – different parts of the Forest Fields community, then it could be a much needed injection of energy into the neighbourhood.

But there is always the risk that it will serve the interests of a select few and, if this is the case, ultimately fail to be what it says it is: a community hub. In particular, local politics can make things difficult. With community projects like this one, the usual practice of the council is to tender out the contract to competing groups, with one group coming out on top. When this happens, power tends to get concentrated in the hands of a few, with the residents having little say over what takes place. More often than not, the group is not even rooted in the local area.

As a means of making sure this doesn’t happen, earlier in November Toby Neal, Carol Jones and Mohammed Ibrahim, the councillors representing Berridge Ward on Notts City Council, called a meeting with an invited a bunch of community groups to discuss plans for the centre and co­operating as a consortium. Bringing groups together in this way is a positive step that could be a remedy to the usual political pitfalls. But we are concerned by some parts of the process so far. Why was it that almost half of the people who attended the meeting were not residents of Forest Fields? When will there be a chance for people living in the neighbourhood (beyond those involved in community groups) to have their say on this centre? How will residents be able to have a say over how the centre is run and, more importantly, what the space is used for?

In the coming months there are likely to be more meetings, including a public meeting some time in the new year. We’re holding out hope that the community centre will really be a space that is run by and benefits the local community. After all, what else is it there for? Lets hold our councillors to their claim to want it to be such a space.