Advertisement Feature in association with the Aviva Community Fund
You may know that this year I have partnered up with Aviva to promote their amazing community fund. The fund is now open, so you can vote for a community group close to your heart – but be quick, you only have until 12 noon tomorrow to cast your votes. Visit https://at.aviva.uk/GetVoting; your vote could be the winning one!
I was asked by them to visit one of the community projects that they have helped previously. This would enable me to see just how the community fund helped them. I was sent to House Of Bread in Stafford which is a charity that helps homeless and vulnerable people in their local area.
House of Bread, Stafford was set up by Will in 2010 with the intention to provide a hot meal and company to homeless people once a week. The charity initially utilised local churches for a venue to hold the meetings. Fast forward eight years and now with two other full-time staff and over 200 volunteers, House of Bread has a lease on a cafe close to the town centre as well as an industrial storage unit. They provide hot food on Wednesdays and Thursdays with a view to opening more days when possible.
As well as hot food and drinks the friends of House of bread use their facilities. A hot shower and the opportunity to wash your clothes are just some of the small things that make a world of difference to the vulnerable people supported by House of Bread.
Bread church is held at the cafe on a Friday. It’s a fantastic idea, the aim is to allow everyone the opportunity to bake two loaves of bread – one for themselves and the other to give to someone else. Many homeless people have nothing but the clothes that they wear, so it is impossible for them to get the opportunity to be generous and actually give something away. By enabling them to bake two loaves, it allows them to be generous and experience the emotions that that creates.
I visited on a Friday morning to experience Bread church for myself. The whole atmosphere was extremely relaxed and it was clear to see just how valued both the bread making and the organisation were and appreciated by the friends that were present.
House of Bread not only provides services for the homeless. House of Bread has strong Christian roots, but it does not feel like a church lead group, in fact, they welcome people of all faiths. They help anybody in need and support people in a variety of circumstances. From support with housing, education and health care, to providing 70 food bags per week or access to a caseworker. House of Bread truly does help anyone that is in need of assistance.
It is clear to see just how much time and dedication Will and his son Jack, along with the rest of the team, have invested into House of Bread. The charity relies completely on donations to facilitate its day to day operations. Government funding is unreliable and difficult to obtain, which is upsetting seeing as the amount of good that this charity does for the local community. The Aviva Community Fund money enabled House of Bread to purchase new cooking equipment for the bread church. This extra equipment helped more friends to participate in bread church each week and increases engagement.
I was overwhelmed at the amount of work that goes into the organisation of House of Bread and also at the effect that it has on the most vulnerable people in our community. Many of the homeless people helped daily here are unwelcome visiting high street coffee shops and cafes. House of Bread is providing an invaluable service to the members of our community that need help the most.
A huge thank you to Will, Jack and everyone at House of Bread for making me feel so very welcome.
House of Bread have hugely benefitted from their funding, like so many other groups who submitted entries to the Aviva Community Fund. Between £1,000 up to £25,000 funding is available across three categories, environment, health and wellbeing and skills for life. The Aviva Community Fund also provides “more than money” support for groups, enabling them to do their own publicity and gain interest in their cause.
There is still time to vote in the Aviva Community Fund 2018 and make a difference to a group in your community. Cast your votes today before voting closes on 20th November at https://at.aviva.uk/GetVoting