Quids In – South ManchesterCommunity Cohesion | Digital Inclusion | Employment/Training | Environmental Sustainability | Financial Literacy/Capability | Health and Wellbeing | Isolation/Loneliness | Poverty
What is the project?
Quids In offers up to £15 worth of food for just a £2 weekly membership fee, which helps pay Fareshare, the charity that supplies the food. Unlike food banks, Quids In is an ongoing membership offering fresh and chilled items that can be difficult to find and expensive to buy locally.
In addition to the food offer, the clubs provide vital opportunities for member to socialise, thereby tackling loneliness and isolation in our communities, and for any of members who require it, they have easy access to Southway's broad range of excellent advice services including employment, budgeting, welfare rights, debt advice, and tenancy support
Who is the project targeted at?
It is targeted at Southway tenants and residents who are in receipt of Housing Benefit, Universal Credit or Pension Credit. In addition, because we have received some funding from Manchester City Council, we are also able to have some non tenant members at each club too. Other community members (not necessarily tenants) have also benefited as they can volunteer at the clubs.
Why did the project come about?
The project came about in response to the welfare reform act, and seeing increasing levels of hardship and poverty in our communities. Our financial inclusion officer, Elaine Wilkinson, in discussion with Fareshare in Manchester, developed the project and in October 2015 opened the first club in Merseybank, Manchester. This one was so successful, we opened another one the following year in Burnage, at our Community Centre at Westcroft Road and the year later, a further three clubs so that all of our core areas had a club within walking distance.
How was this project implemented?
Suitable premises were identified, as we needed space for commercial fridges and freezers, and storage for the ambient food.
Volunteers were recruited and trained in food hygiene and manual handling. Promotional material was developed to raise the profile of the clubs in the locality they were based. Agreements were reached with fareshare about how and when the orders would be placed, deliveries taken and any follow up orders placed where additional food needed.
Every week, volunteers or staff place the required order at Fareshare 2 days before the club is due to be delivered. They each take delivery of the food provided by Fareshare the day before the club and ensure it is stored and put away safely and in line with strict food hygiene and covid-19 restrictions. Pre covid, the members would attend the club on the correct day, and would then pay their £2 membership fee and choose their food items. As often as we can, there are also items like nappys, household goods, sanitary products available too. Since March 2020, the staff and other Southway volunteer staff, prepacked the shopping bags for all members and these were delivered to every household. We did this until late August when members attended their club, but only to collect their shopping - there has been no choice - other than meat free/specific dietary requirements and where we can we offer a little more to those households where we know there are more children. We hope to get back to the choice model asap as this also provides really strong opportunities for members to socialise with each other too.
How was this project funded?
Southway funded the first club, purchasing the fridges and freezer, the till, the equipment to run the clubs and the premises was already one of ours. Further clubs were opened with financial support from MCC (small grants of £2k per club), and in other community venues so no rental cost other than to cover the electricity for the fridges and freezers. Southway also purchased a refrigerated van as that vastly increased our capacity to do additional collections from fare share and from other supermarkets too. We were heavily reliant on volunteers to run the clubs and needed to use more and more staff from Southway to run them so in April 2018, we recruited a Quids In co-ordinator to oversee the 5 clubs. In 2020, we took on 3 new members of staff because of the huge increase in workload delivering the clubs under covid-19 restrictions. Southway funded 1 extra Quids In Co-ordinator (part time) and a Quids In assistant (part time). The third role was funded by National Lottery after a successful application for monies to buy a new electric refrigerated van, pay for another Quids In assistant (for 26 weeks), additional PPE and cleaning equipment, additional fridge freezer and to cover membership fees for two months (we're doing this December and January). In 2020 we also received £1k to allow us to buy halal meat to increase the offer to our Muslim members.
Southway recognise the value and impact of the clubs and are committed to funding them to ensure they remain in situ as long as they are needed. This means we provide staffing support to all clubs all year.
Outcomes so far
5 clubs were supporting up to 285 households at the height of the lockdown. The project helped more than 1000 people every week and over 12 months saved 46 tonnes of food from being wasted. It also helped 5 volunteers helped into work as a direct result of their volunteering.
Extra Christmas bags have been distributed over the last 3 years in recognition of the additional costs people face over the festive period. In summer 2019, bags were also delivered to households with children to give them additional food support over the school holidays. 17 volunteers help to run the clubs (pre covid-19) and the aim is that they will all return to the clubs once it is safe for them to do so.
Another positive outcome is that all members have easy access to Southway's Advice Services team who offer help with debt, employment, budgeting, welfare rights and financial inclusion.
We hope to continue to run all 5 clubs. To reduce administration time we're looking to develop and deliver cashless banking and we hope to continue to attract external funding to allow us to vary and increase the offer wherever possible.