Coventry Citizens Advice has won a prestigious national award for their work in Coventry food banks.
The Resilience project was developed in partnership with the Trussell Trust across a number of food banks within Coventry. The project provides immediate advice and support to people in need, with the ambition that the person referred to a food bank won’t find themselves in crisis again.
The support available is varied depending on individual circumstances, but the majority of support is surrounding welfare benefits. In October, the project was able to identify on average £3,295.49 in financial gains per client (from unclaimed welfare benefits and household bill discounts available to them).
The ‘Most Influential Research or Campaigns Project’ Award was presented to the team at the recent Citizens Advice Annual Conference held in Manchester on 18-19 November 2019.
The Award recognises outstanding work by local Citizen Advice charities and was voted on by staff and volunteers from all over the country.
The three year funded project is a pilot between Coventry Citizens Advice and the Trussell Trust to help alleviate food poverty. The work of the Research and Campaigns team, led by Ed Hodson and project managed by Leanne Court, has helped highlight key trends and demands, for which the project has been able to proactively respond to. It is hoped that the model will be used for a national rollout between the two national charities.
A delighted Coventry Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Kate Algate, said, "I am really proud of all of the work and commitment the team have put into this project as it’s such a critical service for those people who find themselves in need of emergency food parcels.
"I am certain that the project will go on from strength to strength and will evolve over time in line with the client’s needs. Both of the charities ambitions is to be able to solve the issues so there is no need for our services, but unfortunately I don’t see this happening as demand is increasing."
Samantha Stapley, Director of Operations at the Trussell Trust, said:
"Coventry Citizens Advice does fantastic work and we’re so glad food banks in our network could partner with them to help support people in crisis.
“Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty, but currently thousands of women, men and children are not receiving sufficient protection from destitution. This is not right. Our benefits system should be the key to unlocking people from poverty.
“To receive recognition of this vital project with Coventry Citizens Advice is testament to the staff and volunteers who work hard to provide compassionate and practical support to people referred to our doors. We are so much stronger when we work together and are far more able to reach more people in crisis. Together we can work towards a future where no one should ever need to use a food bank.”
This year, Coventry Citizens Advice has helped over 20,000 Coventry citizens with more than 32,000 different issues. The charity does not receive any direct central government grants and fundraises locally to provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice and guidance.
More information about the charity and how to access support, can be found on their website www.coventrycitizensadvice.org.uk