The New Year is time for a new start and Sparkhill foodbank is going through its own season of transformation. In September, Gareth took on the role of manager and we welcomed Les Allan as Senior Foodbank and Destitution Support Worker. In October we opened a new satellite centre at Church of the Ascension in Hall Green. And the big news is we will be moving location to a 4,000 sq ft warehouse unit which will house the foodbank, the clothing bank and the money advice team under one roof, along with some new projects we will share later.View the full newsletter here
Sparkhill foodbank and its satellites continue to be busy supporting local people in crisis, with a steady ow of parcels being distributed each week from numerous venues including from our satellites in Balsall Heath and Yardley Wood, as well as emergency parcels from Highgate Fire Station and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We have also been busy developing new initiatives to run alongside our project over the past few months, increasing the range of support to local people in crisis.
Our clothing bank is now up and running and we are due to open in the autumn a third satellite distribution point in Hall Green to increase our presence and availability to local people. We also have started running a series of free 6-week courses on planning and cooking healthy meals.
We are sadly saying goodbye to our wonderful Apprentice, Nafeesa and our foodbank Support Worker, Chione, is going on maternity leave but will return next year.
Sparkhill’s Queen’s Award winning charity is given £450,000 to combat poverty
Birmingham charity Narthex Sparkhill has been awarded nearly £450,000 by the National Lottery to continue running a Foodbank and help local people in crisis.
Since 2011 the Charity has been operating Sparkhill Foodbank from premises on Bard Street. This grant will allow it to move to larger premises and extend its services supporting local people in crisis.
Earlier this summer the contribution of the Charity’s 100+ volunteers was recognised when it was given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The official presentation of the Queen’s Award by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Simon Topman MBE will also be taking place in Sparkhill today.
On the announcement of the Queen’s Award Mr Topman said “They are changing the culture in Sparkhill and creating a community spirit to confound those who thought that such values were lost”
Mr Topman went on to say
“Narthex has a quite exceptional group of volunteers, admirably led and all working towards a vision that goes way beyond the provision of sanctuary, food and clothes. They are highly innovative, as demonstrated by their satellite food and clothes banks at the QE Hospital and in Fire Stations (it speaks volumes that so many want to copy this initiative). They are changing the culture in Sparkhill and creating a community spirit to confound those who thought that such values were lost. After many years of assessing Queen’s Awards for voluntary service, I have never found an organisation who deserve it more or whose very existence ushers in profound change for the better in an area that so badly needs it”.
At the presentation the Charity will also be announcing that the Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst, the Bishop of Aston is to become the Charity’s new Patron.Download the full newsletter here
It has today been announced in the London Gazette that the charity Narthex Sparkhill has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Narthex Sparkhill Charity is Based at St John’s Church in Sparkhill. During the last year over 100 volunteers have contributed almost 25,000 volunteering hours, supporting the 16 projects Narthex Sparkhill runs including Sparkhill Foodbank and its satellites, Resource Centre for Asylum Seekers Refugees and those in crisis, Advice Centre, Elderly Support including Lunch Club and Tea Dances, Boys Youth Group, Men’s Club, Support for those who have suffered Domestic Abuse or Trafficking, Support for Carers
Rev John Self and Mr Nigel Brookhouse, Chair of the Trustees and CEO of Narthex Sparkhill attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 24th May 2016 where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.
Throughout 2015, we provided food parcels to 5,351 people, approximately 55.5 tonnes. We now have a network of over 200 referral agencies and over 40 collection points for the community to drop o food donations that range from schools, Churches, a hospital, businesses and work places. We are now also providing emergency food boxes for clients who need access to food out-of-hours at various locations in the community; QE Hospital, Highgate Fire Station and the Sparkbrook Community and Health Centre. A total of 58 tonnes of food was donated by the community during the year.
We have a new permanent collection point at Tesco Knowle and we collect small amounts of surplus bread, cakes and fruit and vegetables each week from Marks and Spencer, Greggs and a local bakery. We have also been preparing this year for a third satellite at Hall Green, due to open in the last half of 2016 and thereby making us more accessible to clients.
As more people come to us for support, we have also identi ed that signi cant numbers are also in need of emergency clothing. We were contacted by the QE Hospital Birmingham, because they are experiencing growing numbers of patients who are being discharged, but needed clothes to go home. After discussions, Narthex Sparkhill and the QE Hospital Birmingham are partnering together to pilot a new Clothing Bank, based in Sparkhill, that will provide local people and needy patients being discharged, with urgent supplies of clothes. We have established a steady ow of donations through the collection points at the hospital for food and clothing and we hope to open the clothing bank soon.