West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, with matched funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, are supporting a local charity based in Leigh to help the struggling and vulnerable. The grant of £10,000 has been awarded to HSP (Helping to Support People, formerly Homeless Support Project).
It is a Leigh based charity offering hot meals and support to anyone in need. This includes the elderly and vulnerable, as well as those with addictions and mental health issues. The charity provides a safe space, without reprimand or judgement, that allows the building of trust as staff listen and help any individual in need of support. Whilst based in Leigh, clients using their service come from Atherton, Lowton, Golborne, Hindley, Bryn and other areas around Leigh.
Under normal circumstances, the charity offers two hot meals per day and social activities such as bingo, quizzes and workshops. They have a small garden where clients grow produce that is then used for the food service. Whilst at the venue, as well as providing hot food and drinks, staff and volunteers chat to clients, getting to know them and their needs, building relationships. As a result of this, they can work together with clients to address their needs. This can be by making the right contacts with other services to get accommodation, provision of neutral ground to meet other services, getting help with addictions or just being a listening ear.
During the first lockdown, HSP adapted to ensure support for clients as well as supporting others who found themselves in need. They worked with the local authority to provide food parcels to anyone in need being signposted by local authority services as a point of help. This included families in need as well as regular clients.
The food parcels were very much in demand and during the current lockdown HSP have opened a foodbank and are now providing food parcels to anyone who needs one in Leigh and surrounding areas. In addition to this there is a ‘soup and a sandwich’ take away service every weekday.
HSP have recently moved their charity shop to bigger premises in Bradshawgate, Leigh, and when able, sell furniture, clothes and bric-a-brac. Due to a recent partnership with a large food distributor, along with the donations from West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, they have been able to purchase freezers and fridges for the shop to facilitate selling frozen and fresh food at reduced prices. This has enabled them to keep the shop open for sales of food across lockdown, helping the less fortunate in the area as well as providing a small income for the charity.
HSP are grateful to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the MCF, and local Freemasons for their support in assisting them to help those in need in the community.