The well publicised difficulties that many families and individuals are experiencing at this time of pandemic is a source of much sadness. The situation is equally true in the South and East of Birmingham where Narthex operates. Demand for the Foodbank and also our Money Advice service has been very significant and shows no sign of abating but rather is expected to continue to grow.
How does this bring anyone joy, maybe relief perhaps? For the team at Narthex, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of both food donors and financial donors who have turned round a very difficult situation. The new enlarged space at the Foodbank which, when we moved there in 2017, looked cavernous, is now fully utilised. Food is stacked on commercial shelving and a forklift truck is used to make best use of the space. Because of Covid local people have been wonderfully generous and donated large amounts of food. The existing space was so fully taken up that an additional 1000 sq ft of space was taken in December 2020. This also enabled proper stock rotation to be put in place with the help of the forklift truck.
Greatly increased demand is being well supported by generous donations; as fast as we use the food it is replenished by generous donors. Business growth is usually a reason for rejoicing but this is growth that we would rather not need to have!
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.
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.