Community is part of the ethos of Housing Partners. Here our UX Designer Rob Durham shows how he is living those shared values.

Supporting #FeedMalvern

Community is part of the ethos of Housing Partners. Here our UX Designer Rob Durham shows how he is living those shared values.

One of the silver linings during this time of Covid-19, has undoubtedly been the shows of human kindness, with neighbours around the country stepping up and looking out for each other. Our UX Designer, Rob Durham has been supporting his local community; here he tells us what he’s been up to…

At the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, rather than feeling helpless to support those in my local community, I started a Crowdfunder page to donate money to those who needed help.

I contacted a local district councillor, Samantha Charles and after researching local charities, together we decided to support The Octagon Project. They had started a scheme to collect food from supermarkets that would otherwise go to waste, top it up with fresh produce, and then distribute it locally to those in most need.

Since 1997 the Octagon has provided a warm, welcoming and versatile space all year round for youth groups, community coffee mornings, worship, support groups, and a clothing exchange – to name just a few.

The Octagon at the heart of the community

Brook Farm Community Association provide The Octagon space, which is run by volunteers who support The Octagon’s upkeep and community events through local community fundraising.

In a bid to feed those on lower incomes in Poolbrook and Pickersleigh, Malvern, the #FeedMalvern appeal was launched to offer a helping hand during the Coronavirus crisis. This was the appeal that I started to raise money for with our Crowdfunder page.

We have been doing our best to publicise the scheme and get word out that the local community can donate to help #FeedMalvern. Our efforts have been reported on in The Malvern Observer, which wrote:

Coun Samantha Charles officially launched the #FeedMalvern campaign together with The Octagon Project, local churches and residents, to feed those in need in Malvern.

The councillor revealed that while the Government will cover 80% of the salaries of employees temporarily laid off during the shutdown, the lost 20% could mean real hardship to local income families across the town.

“When people think of Malvern they often think of the Malvern Hills, the outstanding natural beauty and a place where people holiday. For many people living in my area, that is not their reality,” she said.

“While they often describe the area as one they enjoy living in, there are two distinct areas of deprivation within Pickersleigh, which is a short walk from the Octagon Centre and parts of the Brook Farm estate in Poolbrook.

“The Indices of Deprivation 2015 places Poolbrook within the top third most deprived communities in England and the Covid-19 crisis is causing further hardship. #FeedMalvern will put food on the table now for those families most affected during this crisis,” Coun Charles added.

#FeedMalvern is raising money and asking for volunteers to help deliver food parcels to those families most in need. Food, that would otherwise go into landfill, is being collected from supermarkets to redistribute and funds raised will buy fresh produce.

Success

As part of promoting the Crowdfunder page and to raise awareness within the community, myself and Samantha have also taken part in a local radio show, ‘Malvern Views’.

At the time of writing, the Crowdfunder has raised over £3,000 to support those in need! I couldn’t be happier to see the community pulling together and supporting each other at this time. In addition to this, we are extremely proud that the local district council have made an additional donation of £2,000 to the Octagon.

If you’d like to make a donation yourself, or would like more information about the project, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/feedmalvern2020.